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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 

DEPARTMENT OF ARCHAEOLOGY 

CENTRAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL 
LIBRARY 

1 

I 

I Gall No, ^ji2> 


D.G.A. 79. 












tV| 


j/Vlo^crvi 


BY 

WILFRED CANTWELL SMITH 


C' 



1957 

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS 
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY 


LONDON: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 



Copyright © 1957, by Wilfred Cantwell Smith 
London: Oxford University Press 
L.c. CARD 57-5458 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 


Wilfred Cant^vell Smith is director of the 
Institute of Islamic Studies and professor of 
comparative religion at McGill University, 
Montreal, Canada, He has long been a student 
of Islam, has traveled through most of the 
Muslim world, and has written many articles 
related to the subject of this book. His earlier 
book was entitled Modem Islam in India. 


CEl'I'f AKCfi A £0!,-0GIGA£f 
s.iiiil/. IvV, DELHI. 

Ar.l, J. 





Printed in the United States of America 
By Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J. 



This is a study of a people in the turmoil of the modern world. 
The Muslim community in our day, like the rest of mankind, is 
in serious transition. What distinguishes it is that its members face 
the perplexities and opportunities of modernity as heirs of a 
unique tradition. Their society is characterized by a faith, Islam, 
and a great past. What is happening to the community and to the 
faith is the attempted subject of this book. 

Throughout the Islamic world the processes of contemporary 
history are so rich and radical that they are, of course, far from 
easy to understand — whether for the Muslims themselves, pre- 
cipitately involved in them, or for the outside observer. Yet such 
understanding is important: for Muslims, in order to participate 
intelligently in the transformations to which their life is subject; 
for outsiders, to observe that life intelligently and to relate them- 
selves sanely to it; for both, to communicate. It is the significance 
of these needs that justifies our present exploratory endeavour to 
seek such understanding. We are not so fond as to imagine that our 
treatment of the issues here raised is adequate; but we do insist 
that those issues are important. 

Since the primary characteristic of the Muslim world is that it 
is Muslim, we introduce our study with an attempt to elucidate 
what this means; emphasizing that it means a very great deal, in- 
cluding much that is relevant to the currents of modern history. 
Secondly, illustrating our observation that the present of Islamic 
society is in significant measure the outgrowth of its immediate 
past, we turn next to a general survey of the recent background 
throughout the Muslim world, discerning amidst the numerous 
diversities something of a common pattern — enough at least to 
justify the concept that Islamic history continues apace. These 
basic analyses are followed by a country-by-country examination 
of the contemporary scene, an investigation that virtually consti- 
tutes the remainder of our study. It sets forth the contention that 
an understanding of current events in the Muslim world involves 
an understanding of their Islamic quality. By this we do not mean 
anything formal or prescribed. On the contrary, in arguing that 
the Islamic factor is persistently significant in the on-going affairs 
of these nations we are but elaborating the point that the actors 


PREFACE 


in these affairs are persons who are Muslim. History, in our view, 
is everywhere primarily a human activity, despite its partial con- 
ditioning by impersonal forces. 

The quality and form of the Muslim’s faith ramifies through 
many segments of his society’s development, political, economic, 
and the rest. Those concerned with the direction of these various 
factors, then, from within or from without, are in fact dealing 
with Islam and its current development, whether or not they are 
effectively aware of this. In one sense, therefore, the present work 
is offered as some sort of contribution to a politico-economic-social 
study. In another sense, not contradicting this, it is fundamentally 
a study in religion, comparative and contemporary. It seeks to dis- 
cover and to expound the nature and present significance of a 
community’s faith. 

The work is proffered, frankly, both to non-Muslim and to 
Muslim readers. For comparative religion studies in our day, we 
would suggest, have a function to fulfill in intercommunication. 
In addition to their academic standards they may adopt as new 
criterion the capacity to construct religious statements that will 
be intelligible and cogent in at least two different traditions simul- 
taneously. All books no doubt fall short in various ways of their 
authors’ aspirations. Unquestionably this one will. Yet it seems 
perhaps significant to note that that aspiration includes this double 
relevance. The work will fail if it does not enable non-Muslims 
to understand better the behaviour of Muslims that they observe, 
books by Muslim authors that they read, and Muslims that they 
meet. It will fail also if intelligent and honest Muslims are not 
able to recognize its observations as accurate, its interpretations 
and analyses as meaningful and enlightening. For both groups 
it will fail if it does not serve in some small way to further mutual 
comprehensibility. In such a study, these are tests of validity. 

All this might at first sound pretentious. For one thing, has an 
outsider really any business to delve into the spiritualities of an 
alien community? To this there are at least two answers. First, a 
great many Christians besides the author would be deeply de- 
lighted if a Muslim tvriter would undertake a comparable study 
of contemporary Christianity. Such an inquiry if serious would 
surely be a step forward in understanding and interrelation, not 
backward. Secondly, twentieth-century living imposes this re- 


VI 



PREFACE 


sponsibility upon us: it is simply a fact that modern conditions, 
whether we like it or not, oblige us to strive for some apprehension 
of each other’s presuppositions. Isolationism is gone, and with it 
the kind of world in which it was feasible for one civilization or 
culture to ignore the values and convictions of another. 

Moreover, the hope of proving intelligible also to the Islamic 
world is itself a kind of discipline towards understanding. There 
has been too much writing about the Muslim and indeed other 
communities that those communities would not be expected to 
acknowledge as apt. The hypothetical study by a Muslim sug- 
gested above would surely be a better book if the author explicitly 
aimed at writing of Christian behaviour and belief in such a way 
as to be not only enlightening and persuasive to his fellow Muslims 
but also admissible and therefore presumably illuminating to 
Christians. In the delicate field of inter-cultural interpretation, a 
study must first of all strive to meet the requirements of profes- 
sional scholarship, but in addition it may perhaps also be asked 
to strive to exemplify that intercommunicability that it implicitly 
posits. 

As we have said, we cannot claim that the present study will 
satisfy these demands. And we are ready to apologize for our fail- 
ures; and to hope that where we have fallen short others will do 
better. Yet we have few qualms about the validity of what is 
attempted. The alienation between communities in our day is 
too desperate, and the uncertainty as to where our several develop- 
ments are taking us is too severe, for any of us to ignore these 
fundamental questions of faith and history. 

In the writing of this book help has been received from many 
persons, and it is pleasant to acknowledge it. First, of course, and 
most warmly, thanks are due to numerous Muslim friends and 
acquaintances in many countries who have unstintingly encour- 
aged me and helped me as slowly over the years I have come to 
some understanding of Islam. If I have been able at all to gain 
some valid insight into this faith, this has been due in some part 
to supplementing my reading with endless conversations with 
Muslims who generously and patiently have been willing to talk 
with me — of Islam, of contemporary events, of life in general and 
in particular. The usefulness of this in clarifying awareness has 

vii 


PREFACE 


been great, though often subordinate. I value the experience and 
friendship in themselves, and am grateful for them. Some of my 
observations in this study will no doubt prove unpalatable to 
some Muslims, including some of those with whom I have had the 
opportunity of discourse. But I am pleased to realize that in the 
cases where it matters friendship has reached the point where 
sincerity has long since outdistanced courtesy. 

The authorities of McGill University have encouraged my 
studies and not only tolerated but supported their ramifications; 
I am truly grateful. 

To the Rockefeller Foundation also I am grateful for much 
assistance. Particularly, the Humanities Division made possible 
nine years ago a study tour of the Muslim world that enlarged 
my effective Islamics horizon, especially letting me sense the con- 
temporary problems of Indo-Pakistani Muslims, which I had been 
studying, as significantly within a wide context of modern Islamic 
development. The Foundation has also aided McGill University 
in supporting the Institute of Islamic Studies with which I have 
been associated for the past five years, and which is working in 
the realm of study here treated. 

I would also thank those at Princeton University where I did 
my doctoral work, and Professor H. A. R. Gibb under whom I 
had the privilege of studying while at Cambridge and whose early 
and constant encouragement has meant more than he knows. And 
like all teachers I am deeply indebted for criticism, stimulus, and 
assistance to my colleagues (particularly Professor Berkes, Pro- 
fessor Fazlu-r-Rahman, and Mr. Watson) and to my students. 

Since this study represents ten years or more of investigation 
and reflection, on and off, almost every article I have written, 
every talk that I have given on an Islamics subject during that 
time has dealt with some aspect of the present work. Consequently 
I must thank those editors and publishers who allowed various 
first approximations to some parts of the present material to 
under their auspices. From the discussions and criticisms 
and even the silences that were evoked I have learned much. 
Chapter i below, although largely new, synthesizes some ideas 
and passages that were first adumbrated in Foreign Policy Report, 
Foreign Policy Association, New York (31/2:5-7, October 1, 1951), 
in an address to the Fifth Annual Conference of the Middle East 

via 


PREFACE 


Institute (proceedings published in Dorothea Seelye Franck, ed., 
Islam in the Modern World, Middle East Institute, Washington, 
1951; cf. pp. 15-30), and in papers presented at conferences held 
by the Hartford Seminary Foundation, Hartford (abridged pro- 
ceedings published in The Muslim World, Hartford, 42:313-32 
[1952]; cf. pp. 321-24) and the Social Science Research Council 
at Princeton (papers published as Sydney Nettleton Fisher, ed.. 
Social Forces in the Middle East, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 
1955; cf. pp. 190-204). Chapter 2 is mostly new, and the first part 
of Chapter 3; the remainder of Chapter 3 draws heavily on ma- 
terial presented in my doctoral dissertation to Princeton Uni- 
versity, Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures (1948). 
Chapter 4 is a revised version of an article first published in Islamic 
Culture, Hyderabad, 25:155-86 (1951); a “preliminary draft” of 
Chapter 5 was published by Shaykh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 
as a pamphlet, Pakistan as an Islamic State [1954]. To the editors, 
publishers, and authorities concerned I am grateful for permission 
to republish here some of the substance and in some cases some of 
the wording of these earlier gropings toward this presentation. 

For permission to quote from other writers, I am indebted to 
the following: George Allen Sc Unwin, London, for the transla- 
tion of the al-Ghazzali passage (below, p. 116) from W. Mont- 
gomery Watt, trans.. The Faith and Practice of al-Ghazdli, 1953; 
Longmans, Green and Company, for the passage (below, p. 109) 
from G. M. Trevelyan, English Social History, 1942; Middle East- 
ern Affairs, New York, and The Christian Science Monitor, Bos- 
ton, for the passage (below, p. 151) from an article by the Overseas 
News Editor for the latter paper, published in both periodicals. 

Since the work is offered both to scholars and to the general 
reader, including those familiar with Islamic languages and those 
not, the vexatious question of rendering the Arabic script in 
Latin characters has been handled as follows; in the text, dia- 
criticals have not been used but otherwise the transliteration aims 
at accuracy; in the footnotes and index the transcription is full, 
precise, and as unrelenting as feasible. References to the Qur’an 
cite chapter and verse of the official Egyptian text. 

I wonder whether I might be allowed to close as a classical 
Muslim writer might have done (except that he would hardly 
have written a work like this): May God forgive me if my book 


IX 



PREFACE 


misrepresents a people or its faith, and if on the other hand it 
may serve as any contribution to truer understanding, then to 
Him be the praise. 

Wilfred Cantwell Smith 

Institute of Islamic Studies 
McGill University, Montreal 



Preface 






1 . Introduction: Islam and History 

2. Islam in Recent History 

3. The Arabs: Islamic Crisis 

4. Turkey: Islamic Reformation? 

5. Pakistan: Islamic State 

6. India: Islamic Involvement 

7. Other Areas 

8. Conclusion 


Index 



ivi 





v» j—ltstoiry 



INTRODUCTION: ISLAM AND HISTORY 


Islam today has behind it some thirteen centuries of history. No 
one knows the future; yet a Muslim might presumably look for- 
ward to, let us say, another thirteen centuries still to come. With 
any unfolding still further ahead, beyond that symmetry, we need 
not trouble for the moment; such a prospect for Islam is enough 
to set our perspective. Current situations in the Muslim world lie 
within a context of a very long-term development of Islam — a 
development not yet completed. 

In the uncertain flux of man’s mundane development, and 
especially now amid the radical transformation already begun 
in all man’s social forms, prophecy is precarious. Yet one predic- 
tion would seem not rasli: that the history of the next thirteen 
centuries, or indeed of the next two centuries or one, will for all 
of us be different. Life on our planet is full of rapid novelty: 
problems, possibilities, dreams and threats are new. 

The present study is in no sense an endeavour — patently absurd 
— to discern what that future unfolding may be. Our concern is 
simply to give attention to the fact that the career of Islam on 
earth, from what it has been, is currently in process of changing 
into what it will become. One does not know, or need to know, 
what it will be; but one can actually observe the contemporary 
process by which some tomorrow or other is being prepared. Islam 
is today living through that crucial, creative moment in which 
the heritage of its past is being transformed into the herald of its 
future. Outsiders may study, analyse, interpret the process; Mus- 
lims themselves not only may but must participate in it. For both 
outsiders and Muslims the most important, most interesting chap- 
ter in Islamic history so far is the one that is today in process of 
being enacted. 

If this be true, is it also noteworthy? One might be tempted to 
cry “platitude,” and to protest that such a truth applies to all 
human affairs, Muslim or other, and to all epochs in history. Life, 
for both man and his society, has ever been the decisive moment- 
by-moment creation or emergence of newness on the basis of the 
cumulative past. Has the meaning of history not always been com- 
prised in the meaningfulness of each “now” as it came along? Has 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

not every personality, every group and institution, every civiliza- 
tion, always existed sandwiched between the pressure of its past 
and the potentiality of an uncertain future? What is special about 
the twentieth century, that makes our age so starkly one of critical 
transition; and what special about Islam, that makes so dramatic 
its involvement in this crisis? 

Our thesis here will be that in both cases a very great deal is 
special. This aspect of the Muslim’s faith — its development, its 
dynamism — has been little explored. Our exposition of the situa- 
tion as we discern it will accordingly occupy much of our argu- 
ment presently. In answer to the former question, on the other 
hand — the instability of modernity — much has been written on 
every hand; the point need detain us here but briefly. 

Admittedly there has always been change. A language, a moun- 
tain range, even the galaxies, we now know, have their life 
histories; we can document Heracleitos’ persuasion that every- 
thing we see is, and throughout has been, in flux. Yet our age is 
distinctive on two scores. First, the pace of change is for us being 
not merely quantitatively but qualitatively quickened. Secondly, 
the evolution is for the first time on a large scale becoming 
self-conscious. 

Never before in human history or evolution has change been so 
swift, so pervasive, so perspicuous as today. Earlier centuries have 
flirted with transience, or even from time to time become deeply 
involved; but it remained for our own to contract an overt and 
indissoluble marriage. From now on, man knows that he must 
live with change as a permanent partner, in all his activities and 
all his institutions, for better or for worse. 

It is this knowledge that is the second great differentiation. 
Not only is development, since the Industrial Revolution and the 
recent strides of science, quick — quick out of all proportion to 
anything seen before. It is also, and equally fundamental, for the 
first time recognized, and in part deliberate. This knowledge, like 
other, brings both power and responsibility. Man both may and 
must be the architect of mutability. 

In the case of Islam, for instance, ivith the slow dynamics of 
the past giving way to the swift development of the contemporary 
scene, consciousness is perforce spreading, amongst Muslims^ as 

1 It ha.s become so commonplace today for Muslims to speak and write of 
the fluidity of present-day Islamic cultural and social life, that any choice of 


4 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


well as outsiders, of how fluid is its present; while, partially, aware- 
ness also dawns of how fluid it has always been.^ With these 
comes an incipient sense of man’s opportunity, now grown ines- 
capable, for directing changed 

So much for our twentieth century. Yet in addition to these 


illustrative instances can be arbitrary only. One example: Iqbal speaks of 
“the enormous rapidity with which the world of Islam is spiritually moving” 
(Sir Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, 
1944 ed., Lahore, p, y). Another: the fact that Muhammad Asad, Islam at 
the Crossroads, has gone through repeated printings in both India and the 
Arab world (Delhi, 1934: Lahore, yth rev. ed., 1955: al-Isldm ’aid, Muftariq 
al-Turuq, trans. 'Umar Farrukh, Beirut, 1946, 1948, 1951). One might also 
mention the remarkable degree to which such phrases as tataghayyar al-ahkam 
bi-taghayyur al-azmdn are increasingly in use. 

2 We refer not merely to the growing tendency to hold that Islam is in- 

herently dynamic, not static. (This point is most strikingly argued by Iqbal: 
in English, see op. cit., passim, and especially chap. VI, “The Principle of 
Movement in the Structure of Islam.”) The question is rather one of recog- 
nizing (but only incipiently so far) an actual evolution of Islamic institutions. 
As an example of a fairly conservative mind writing a history of the develop- 
ment of Muslim theological interpretations, one might cite Shibll Nu'mani, 
‘Ilmu-l-Kaldm, 1902; reprinted Lahore, 1945 (note the [new?] subtitle). Two 
contemporary writers seriously treating of Islamic Law as having evinced 
historical development, are A. A. ‘A. Fayzl (“Fyzee”) in India and $ubhl 
MahmasanI in the Arab world. This tendency has, as might be expected, 
gone furthest in Turkey (see, for instance, the contribution [ciiz 36, pp. 608- 
22] of M. Fuad Kopriilii to the article fikih in the Isldm Ansiklopedisi, Istan- 
bul, 1947, in the form of an addendum to and comment upon the translation 
into Turkish of the original article fikh by I. Goldziher, from The Encyclo- 
paedia of Isldm, Leiden, 1914: for a less substantial example in English, see 
Ebul’ul^ Mardin, “Development of the Sharl'a under the Ottoman Empire” 
in Majid Khadduri and FI. J. Liebesny, edd.. Law in the Middle East, Wash- 
ington, 1955- , vol. I, pp. 279-291.) However, perhaps no Muslim has yet 

asserted a history of the religion of Islam (cf. the present writer’s lecture 
cited at ref. 6 below). 

3 One instance: the move to consider a possible bringing together of the 
four legal systems of Sunni Islam, or even of various sections of Islam in- 
cluding Sunni and ShVt. One expression of this is the Cairo Jamd’at al- 
Taqrlb bayn al-Madhdhib al-Isldmiyah (see their monthly journal Risdlat 
al-Isldm, Cairo, 1368/1949 ff.) Another instance: the move to consider a possi- 
ble reappraisal of the corpus of hadith, with a view inter alia to a possible 
reformulation of law. See the statement circulated by the Council of the 
Academy of Islamic Studies, Hyderabad-Deccan, India (founded 1952), To- 
ward Reorientation of Islamic Thought: a Call for Introspection, 1954, and 
the interesting report on the response elicited by this, T oward Reorientation 
of Islamic Thought (A Fresh Examination of the Fladith Literature), 1954. 
These were reprinted (with minor alterations, and omitting the “List of 
Correspondents” in the second) in Islamic Review, London, 42/4: 3-5 (April 
1954) and 43/1: 6-13 and 2: 7-11 (Jan. and Feb. 1955). 


5 




ISLAM AND HISTORY 

new conditions which Islam in its modern context shares with the 
rest of the present-day world, and which are relatively evident, 
there are other considerations special to Islam. These help to 
characterize the particular, intense experience through which 
the community is currently going. These specifically Islamic fac- 
tors have received less notice from writers, either eastern or west- 
ern, and yet they must have careful exposition if the present crisis 
is to be appreciated. We need a clearer understanding of what 
kind of thing Islam is, as well as a just discernment of what kind 
of thing modernity is, if we would gain a sensitive insight 
into the modern condition of the Muslim world. There has been 
talk of the “impact” of the West, or of the twentieth century, upon 
Islam, almost as though the latter were inert, the passive recipient 
of influence. But Islam, too, is a force, one that has been in mo- 
tion noiv for more than thirteen centuries. Upon the modern 
Muslim and his society there is the powerful impact of Islam, from 
behind (and, since it is a religion, from above); as well as the 
impact of modernity from the side. The thrust of Islam in this 
situation, the stresses and strains generated in its on-going process, 
the dynamics of its reaction, aggressive or cotvering, protective or 
creative, to the modern world — all this is to be understood, if at 
all, not only in terms of the crucially new environment, but 
equally in terms of the nature and drive and inner quality of 
Islam. 

We have suggested that the present is special in Islamic history; 
it is certainly unique, and is in some ways more significant than 
any other era. We would suggest also that the historical process in 
general is special for Islam: the Islamic conception of history is 
unique, and in some ways history is more significant for Muslims 
than it is for almost any other group. 

So sweeping a suggestion manifestly requires considerable eluci- 
dation. This much, at least, may be at once asserted: that the 
practical role of Islam in modern history (or in any other history) 
cannot be fully understood rvithout an understanding of the theo- 
retical role of history in Islam. Much the same applies to the 
question of social relationships: one cannot adequately under- 
stand the role of Islam in society until one has appreciated the 
role of society in Islam. It could again seem but platitudinous to 

stress that the modern Muslim is a member of a community were 

it not that his community, like his history, is Islamic; and in both 


6 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

cases this is something quite special. Just how special it is, it 
becomes our business to inquire. Once more, to grasp aright the 
present situation in the Muslim world, one must examine Islam. 
What, then, is Islam? 

To begin with, Islam is a religion. 

To say this is to say a great deal — more, in fact, than perhaps 
any one of us can really understand. It is the fundamental fact 
from which discernment in this field must start. For one thing, all 
religions, and most clearly the great world faiths, are quite literally 
infinite. There is no end to their profundity; nor to their ramifica- 
tion, their variety. For each religion is the point at which its 
adherent is in touch, through the intermediary of an accumulating 
tradition, with the infinitude of the divine.* It is the chief means 
through which God takes hold of the person, in so far as that 
person will allow. Whatever it may be as a systematic ideal, and 
whatever, too, its external details may be sociologically, Islam is 
also, empirically, the personal religious life, shallow or deep, dis- 
torted or magnificent, sinful or saintly, of every individual Muslim. 

From the transcendent and deeply personal nature of religion 
two things follow for the outside observer. One is the fairly ob- 
vious point that we falsify any religion if we give attention only 
to its external form. It is the chief ivindow through which the 
adherent sees whatever he does see of the meaning and purpose of 

^ II has become fashionable in Western academic circles to insist that 
interpretations of phenomena, including social and human ones, must be in 
exclusively “objective,” positive, non-transcendent terms. Those who adopt 
this may find the above sentence difficult, because of its final phrase. We be- 
lieve, however, that any explanation must be inadequate that leaves out of 
consideration one of the basic and most pertinent of the factors involved; 
and accordingly that people who deny the reality of God (whether or not 
they recognize Him by that term) preclude themselves from adequately under- 
standing the history of religion. This does not mean, however, that other 
factors are not also involved, such as those with which anthropologists, psy- 
chologists, and others deal. (Those who believe in God are also precluded 
from understanding that history, in so far as they deny or are unaware of 
the reality and relevance of those other factors.) Our position is that religion 
houses the interplay of these various factors; our attempt to delineate what 
we understand by it is an attempt to do justice to all these. We hope that even 
those who disagree with us as to the transcendence of what we call the divine, 
may nonetheless be able to follow our argument by recognizing that that 
factor is there, however they may interpret it. The above sentence would 
presumably be acceptable to, for instance, Durkheim, since he would acknowl- 
edge our term, though interpreting it sociologically. He recognizes drat the 
worshipper is in touch with something. Compare also the next note. 


7 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


life, the final significance of himself and his fellows and their 
mutual relations. The student, accordingly, must not only observe 
the shape and construction of the window, but try also to ascertain 
what further vision it affords to those who worship at it. In mat- 
ters of behaviour, the student must descry not only what the re- 
ligious do, but what they deem worth doing and why. To know 
Islam, as to know any religion, is not only to be apprised of, even 
carefully acquainted with, its institutions, patterns, and history, 
but also to apprehend what these mean to those who have the 
faith. 

Another corollary is the endless diversity of each major faith. 
To some extent each religion is all things to all men; the import 
and inner nature of each varies with every member according to 
his own capacity and response. When we look beyond symbols to 
their meanings, we cannot but recognize that each world religion 
has, in the last analysis, as many forms as it has believers. For it is 
an historical fact, fundamental to religious history and under- 
standing, that even the same materials may mean different things 
to different persons. Indeed, one could argue that unless the 
system has lost its vitality, is without religious significance, they 
must do so. The empirical reality of any faith is what the symbols 
actually convey, case by individual case.® And there is no limit to, 

® We believe this an important point. And we stress the word "empirical.” 
Yet we are conscious that the position here put forward will probably prove 
not readily acceptable, or even meaningful, to some other observers, par- 
ticularly among a certain school of social scientists, especially in North 
America. We hold that behaviour, institutions, creeds, and other externalities 
are real and significant, but are not religion. At least they are not all of it, 
and particularly are not faith. Religion, we suggest, is what these things mean 
to men. A study of religion, then, to be scientific must deal with meaning, 
with the personal considered as personal, not as an "object.” (One must 
transcend the facile error that the only alternative to objective study is 
subjective study.) 

For any social scientists to argue that their techniques cannot deal with 
these is to assert that their techniques are not suited to the study of religion; 
which may well be true. It is doubtless significant that the sociological work 
of such men as Weber, Troeltsch, and Durkheim has proven so fruitful for 
the study of the religions, whereas that of an orientation typified perhaps by 
Lundberg or Everett Hughes has not. Surely the attempt to interpret religion 
academically must be an attempt to find a position that will do justice both 
to intellectual coherence and to all the observed facts. Further, it should not 
be limited by dogmatic metaphysical presuppositions— such as that of several 
social scientists that the transcendent is not real; that the universe in which 
we live IS a closed system. (They would phrase this rather as that men’s 

5 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

there can be no definition of, the interpretation that individual 
spiritual aptitude, circumstance, interest, or vagary may put upon 
a system, no matter how rigidly prescribed. In Islam this elasticity 
is particularly true of the protean Sufi movement. Yet it is true 
also of what even so apparently formal a system as the Law means, 
not only in each successive century but indeed to each separate 
Muslim heart. 

Manifestly Islam could never have become across the centuries 
one of the four or five great world religions had it not, like the 
others, had the quality of having something profound and relevant 
and personal to say directly to all sorts and conditions of men, of 
every status, background, capacity, temperament, and aspiration. 

Islam, then, is a religion. Like the other world faiths it over- 
flows all definition both because it is open at one end to the 
immeasurable greatness of the Divine, and because also it relates 
itself at the other end to the immeasurable diversity of the human. 

Nonetheless, Islam is not merely religion; it is a particular reli- 
gion. It is distinct; and — like the others — though it cannot be 
defined, it can be characterized. One need not decide the perplex- 
ing issue as to which is more important, that which the great 
religions have in common, or that in each which distinguishes it 
from the others. Both, clearly, are integral to an understanding of 
any. Having insisted on this, we may go on to seek for Islam some 
approximate description of the latter. We must still avoid the easy 
error of falling back on the external forms, the shape of the 
window. These, we have argued, are not the religion itself, which 
lies rather in the realm of meaning. The reality of Islam is a 
personal, living faith, new every morning in the heart of indi- 
vidual Muslims. This reality too is distinctive; and this we must 
attempt to characterize, though we remember that in doing so we 
cannot but omit many shades of variety, many exceptions, many 
subtleties. The epitomized “Islam” at which one might hope to 
arrive is at best a generalized abstraction, the formal aspect of an 

behaviour is not influenced by unobservable factors.) 

Manifestly, the methodological question cannot be fully considered here. 
The present study is an application rather than an exposition of our position 
on a question that needs continued critical investigation. For an exploratory 
statement, not specifically on method, cf. the present writer’s preliminary 
“The Comparative Study of Religion: reflections on the possibility and pur- 
pose of a religious science,” in McGill University, Faculty of Divinity, Inau- 
gural Lectures, Montreal, 1950, pp. 39-60. 


9 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


impersonal entity of Islam, that will approximate to the inner 
nature of the religion if it is abstracted not from the outward 
forms, so much, as from the meaning of these for believing 
Muslims. 

It will be recognized that for an outsider to essay anything in 
this realm is a hardy venture. The abstraction will be necessarily 
partial and inadecjuate, if not actually distorted. Yet, following our 
conviction already expressed that an understanding of the present 
condition of the Muslim community is impossible without an 
understanding of Islam, we have felt that we must make the 
attempt — with genuine apologies for inevitable failures, but in 
the hope that this imperfect interpretation might yet be a con- 
tribution in the direction of valid exposition. In line with our 
previous argument, we shall emphasize particularly the question of 
Islam and history. 

To the Muslim, of course, Islam is the religion of God. This 
means a great many things; among others, that it began not in the 
seventh century a.d., but at least on the day of creation, if not 
before. When God created the world. He provided that the forces 
of nature should operate according to the pattern that He pre- 
scribed—inevitably, perfectly, and as it were blindly. The world 
of nature has no choice but to obey His eternal decrees; and in 
the course of doing so, it at the same time illustrates them, dis- 
closing, for those who have the wit to discern it. His design and 
providence, as well as His majesty and might. The patterned 
behaviour of the natural world is the sign of its Creator. 

For man also there is a pattern, which he ought to follow. God 
from all eternity ordained® how men ought to behave, both indi- 
vidually and in community. There is a proper form of human 
conduct, vis-a-vis the God who made us (and to whom we shall 
return), and vis-a-vis our fellows. There is a right way to live. Man, 
however, differs from the rest of creation in that he was made 
conscious and free. In his case, there is no inherent compulsion: 
he, alone in the universe, was given the faculty of choosing to 
conform or not to conform. There is an eternal righteousness, but 
it is not compulsory. 

® In the first draft of this sentence, we used the verb "knew.” This reflected 
no doubt, onr predisposition towards the Creek concept of iustice. This 
represents perhaps the essential point that the Mu'tazilah movement in early 
Islani was tq-ing to make; their overthrow was the victory of the assertion 
that justice is what God ordains. 

JO 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

Of course, this freedom is a momentous responsibility; and it 
would be more correct to say that man alone was willing to accept 
it. There is a passage in the Qur’an (33:72) in which this is mag- 
nificently symbolized, in the drama of God’s offering the privilege 
of option to the heavens (the spiritual forces) and to the earth 
and mountains (the natural world), but these cower from it in 
abject alarm. Man, on the other hand, accepts; thus taking up the 
tremendous challenge of consciously ordering his own career. He 
does not have to live in justice, as the stars have to circle in their 
spheres. But he will try. 

The stakes are high. Only if men live correctly will their society 
escape disintegration and chaos; yet man has the liberty to choose 
wrongly, to bring down the whole social order crashing about his 
ears. More: man is an immortal soul, and his individual destiny 
throughout eternity as well as his society on earth turn on his 
willingness to pattern his life here and now on the transcendent 
norms. God has set up a system of final recompense, whereby those 
who accept the pattern of “oughtness” will find their reward in 
an everlasting beatitude, quite beyond this temporal scene, while 
for those who reject it, who spurn the moral imperative, there is 
entailed similarly an irretrievable disaster of unlimited punish- 
ment. Man is the summit of creation, unique now and for all 
eternity. 

God has not left mankind without guidance on this matter of 
how it should live. On the contrary: so soon as man was created 
he was told what the moral law is. In Islamic terms, Adam was the 
first “projrhet” (or “messenger”). That is, God set man in the uni- 
verse and at once delivered to him the message: thus-and-so he 
must do, thus-and-so he must avoid doing. This is right; that is 
wrong. Human history opens with man knotving what he ought 
to do — but proceeds with him failing to do it. The conception 
is that Adam proved disobedient and his successors neglected, or 
forgot, or lost, or falsified, the message; so that a day came when 
humanity no longer knew the pattern. Man’s failure to live justly 
was no longer simply a refusal of justice, but a groping in the 
dark as to what justice is. To redeem man out of that uncertainty, 
God in His mercy thereupon sent down the message again. There 
was thus another revelation, or disclosure, to humanity of what 
the eternal demands are; another “prophet,” chosen as the instru- 
ment for proclaiming anew the ancient truths. But the story re- 


II 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

peated itself: again, the community neglected, forgot, distorted, 
what had been revealed. And so it went — no one knotvs how many 
times throughout history persons were chosen to remind mankind 
of the heavenly norm, and to warn us of the terrors of failing to 
accept it. This much is known, that they were many, of diverse 
lands and peoples. Indeed, every community is said to have had 
its Warner. Yet in essentials, despite the wide variety of messengers, 
the message is always the same.’ 

Amongst the numerous persons whom God has chosen from 
time to time to convey the message, some names have been pre- 
served, some lost. Of the former, the best known and also the most 
significant are (apart from Adam) Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. 
They, like the other “messengers” (“prophets”), were themselves 
“acceptors” of the divine Command; and to their fellow human 
beings preached acceptance. In their ca.se the preaching was, while 
not fully successful, yet effective to a marked degree, with more 
lasting results than in any previous instance. Indeed, their fol- 
lowers are still with us in vast numbers. They constitute the 
Jewish and the Christian communities. 

Abraham’s achievement was the effective proclamation of God’s 
existence and sole supremacy; never since his day has humanity 
again totally forgotten that it is He, and He alone, who created the 
universe. He alone tvlio deserves to be worshipped. The doctrine 
of monotheism, established by Abraham, never again quite lapsed. 
False gods, man-made idols, spurned by Abraham’s vivid fidelity, 
have remained spurned ever since by at least a section of mankind. 

The first step, thus, was taken on the road towards a rehabilita- 
tion of history. But other steps remained. 

In the case of Moses, his followers preserved the message, and 
took the second step by setting forth across the centuries to put it 
into practice. They recognized God’s oneness, and also God’s law. 
At least they recognized that God has a law, by which man must 
be bound. How’ever they were far from whole-hearted in their 
acceptance of the revelation. And in course of time they allowed 
(or caused) their copies of the text in which the written record 
of the message was preserved, to become corrupted. Their “scrip- 

r This sentence is not entirely satisfactory, but we believe that the diffi- 
culties inhere in the subject matter rather than in the expression. That is, 
the relation between Islam and earlier revelations, as it understands them, is 
somewhat unresolved. (One example: the vexed question of ndsikh and 
mansukh.) 


12 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


ture” became inaccurate. Moreover, they committed one major 
blunder; they came to believe that the divine command applied 
only to themselves — instead of understanding that the prescribed 
pattern was a universal message, for all mankind. 

In due course, to correct this desperate error, God sent another 
messenger, Jesus. His followers, as well as having certain other 
special qualities and God-given favours, understood the univer- 
salist nature of the faith well; and have been zealous in extending 
the community to the ends of the earth. But they too made a 
fundamental, indeed a heinous, mistake: they took to worshipping 
the messenger, instead of heeding the message. In this Muslim 
view, Jesus was, like all others in the long line of those whom God 
chose to proclaim His command, a human being. He was, ad- 
mittedly, a rather special human being: attested by miracles (e.g., 
a virgin birth) and of quite exemplary moral character, but a 
human being for all that. Yet his followers began — to Jesus’s own 
amazement and vigorous disclaiming protest — to deify him, to 
ascribe to him and his mother wild, even blasphemous and obscene, 
relations to God Himself. His community of followers, who called 
themselves "Christians,” have through the centuries and across the 
continents focussed their attention on Christ to the partial neglect 
on the one hand of God, whose transcendence they thus compro- 
mise, and on the other hand of the full moral order, since they 
have cultivated personal piety but allowed social justice to slide, 
leaving the conduct of this-worldly affairs to “secular” forces not 
under the dominion of the eternal norms.® Though individually 
upright, they let history go its own way, unredeemed. 

Once more, then, man had demonstrated his perversity or fail- 
ure, his floundering in the persistent rejection or distortion of the 
supreme guidance which God kept offering to him, and which 
alone could save him. Not only were we men incapable by our 
own efforts of discerning what is right and what is wrong; but 
even when God tells us and shows us, we refuse to see. 

The history of mankind up to this point, then, would seem 
rather a discouraging story. Progress there had been, certainly. 
After the first virtually complete neglect of the eternal commands, 
or rather a series of repeated neglectings, there had come gradually 

8 The second half of this sentence is of only relatively modern application, 
since only recently have Muslims come into touch with the Christian attitude 
on this matter enough to misunderstand it. 

13 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

the recognition in principle of God’s supremacy, and then the 
emergence of two communities of men — one, though limited and 
introverted, yet acknowledging in principle and dedicated to 
implementing the divine imperative, and the other beginning to 
understand that God’s pleasure involved the bringing of the whole 
human world into one family in submission to His truth. Yet 
both these communities, each in its own way, understood very 
partially and in some respects misunderstood very seriously what 
God’s requirements really are. Would men never grasp aright the 
everlasting message? And would they never set forth to practise it 
in full seriousness, to live as from all eternity it was ordained 
that men should live: preparing themselves personally for that 
stupendous bliss of deathless communion with God Himself for 
which the whole drama of creation is the subordinate prelude, 
and which will continue long after this temporal world has passed 
into nothingness; and meanwhile on earth constructing and living 
the perfect society, transforming human history into a record no 
longer of reiterated failure but at last of divinely guided success? 

Had the question rested with man, the answer would doubtless 
have continued to be a despondent "never.” We human beings 
are a sorry lot, prone to rebelliousness and error. But God’s mercy 
is supreme; and His initiative perennial. In one final and dramatic 
move He salvaged the ongoing situation, injecting fully and 
effectively His supernal guidance into human affairs. Once and 
for all a final, clear statement of His truth and His justice was 
sent down; a messenger was chosen who would deliver it, interpret 
it, live it, with undeviating precision; a community was launched 
on its career that would preserve the message with a scrupulous 
fidelity, would carry it in triumph to the ends of the earth, and 
would obey it to the fullest implication of its practical outworking. 

This time there was to be no error, no distortion, no neglect. 
This latest, last, decisive declaration of man’s proper function in 
the universe was no isolated event, was by no means simply the 
inert statement of a transcendent truth. As we have said, the truth 
had been disclosed before. 'iVhat was momentous, superbly crea- 
tive in this instance, was the event plus its sequel: the application 
of the truth, its living embodiment in human history from this 
point. Here was not only a restatement of what God has to say 
to us, but a society developing around that restatement: a society 
that, grasping firmly the injunctions which are there revealed. 


X4 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


dedicates itself to living according to them, and thereby sets forth 
on the reconstruction of human life on earth. This society is not 
exclusive; on the contrary, its welcome to all the world is warm, 
even insistent, as it earnestly invites others to join in this supremest 
of all enterprises — setting aright at last what man on his own 
resources had allowed to go awry. Nor is it quixotic, for it 23roceeds 
under divine support and with divine blessing, is led as it were 
by the divine hand. God Himself has explicitly promised that He 
will be with the community to sustain and guide it. Besides, the 
laws that have been entrusted to it and by which its behaviour is 
patterned are divine and eternal, are objectively valid; to live in 
accord with them is to live according to the very structure of the 
universe. 

In this way, then, Islam, which had existed from all eternity, 
came down into history in the seventh century a.d. and began its 
final, full career among men. The only statement of its message 
whose text has been accurately preserved, is that in the Arabic 
recitation (“Qur’an”) where it appears in all its fullness, and in 
language of limpid clarity and surpassing beauty. The only in- 
stance of its implementation that has been sustained and fruitful, 
is that of the group who — banding themselves together under 
Muhammad’s leadership, and then persisting in the enterprise 
after he was gone — first in Arabia, then in the surrounding lands 
of the Middle East, and gradually thereafter in successive waves 
of expanding dominion throughout the world, undertook to organ- 
ize in accordance with the ordained pattern both their own lives 
and their social order. 

This group consisted at first of inhabitants of but two Arabian 
cities, later included other Arabs, and presently was joined by men 
from every nation, language, race, colour, and clime — a group 
distinguished from the rest of humanity simply in that they ac- 
cepted, while others did not, the prescription that had been dis- 
closed, and submitted to the divine plan. They are known, there- 
fore, as “acceptors” or “submitters”; in the Arabic (sing.), muslim. 
By the emergence of this group the mundane version of Islam was 
launched, translating the idea into organized and continuing prac- 
tice. Thus a new era in human history was born. 

The year one of this Islamic era — i a.h. (622 a.d.) — is not the 
year of Muhammad’s birth (as would parallel the Christian case), 
or even that in which the revelations began to come to him, but 


^5 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


the year when the nascent Muslim community came to political 
power. Muhammad and his small body of followers, having shifted 
from Makkah to Madinah, established themselves as an autono- 
mous" community; and Islamic history began. 

If the above exposition has succeeded at all in its objective of 
presenting (in interpretive summary) the views of Muslims, we 
may move on to a presentation also of our own views. To our 
further exposition we shall add analysis and commentary, and an 
attempt to explore the implications, as we see them, of these 
beliefs. We are ready now to justify or elucidate our earlier asser- 
tion that for the Muslim, community and history are "special.” 
For him they are, as for no other, religiously significant. The 
Qur’an, of course, is in Muslim eyes holy, or “sacred.” One would 
be going only slightly too far to say that his society and its history 
partake of an almost sacred quality also.^“ Here is a community 
that has explicitly undertaken to live in accordance with God’s 
plan. Since it has been in existence, to become a Muslim means 
to join that community; and to take part in the enterprise of ful- 
filling God’s good pleasure^ on earth. The enterprise is hardly 

« The community was “autonomous” in the sense of being free from non- 
Muslim control, but not in the precise sense of making its own laws. Rather 
it was constituted, and has continued, for the adoption and elaboration of the 
laws of God. 

It has sometimes been said that Muslims, at least in theory, do not divide 
their life, or the world, into spiritual and profane. Yet it, would perhaps not 
be misleading to suggest a certain parallel between the line that discriminates 
these two spheres and the boundary of Muslim society, the line separating 
off the unimah from the rest of the world. (There are, however, quite other 
parallels in this realm also, such as between the concepts barakah and ‘mana’.) 

“ Some of the Muslim theologians distinguish between God’s “pleasure” 
{ridwdn, ridd, mard-l) and His “will” {mashi’ah, irddah): the former referring 
to what ought to happen, the latter to what does happen— on the grounds 
that God’s will cannot be flouted even though His command ma y be dis- 
obeyed^ (A classical example: al-AslTarl, in H. Ritter, ed., Maqdldt al- 
Isldmiyln . . . , Istanbul, 1929-30, vol. I, p. 394: . . . lam yardi bi al-sharr wa-in 
kdn muridan lah [God does not command evil but rather forbids it, and 
commands what is good; and “is not pleased with evil even though He will 
it”]; for English translation and context see Walter C. Klein, . . . al-A¥arVs 
al-Ibdnah ... (. . . Elucidation ...),« translation. . . . New Haven, 1940, 
p. 33). The point has its counterpart in the discussion on free will and the 
like in Christian theology. We draw attention to it here only to point out 
the danger of misunderstanding if Christians use for Islamic matters such 
phrases as “the will of God” or “the purposes of God” to signify what ought 
to be. Confusion has arisen here in interpreting the term Islam as signifying 
resignation,” a kind of fatalistic acceptance of God’s will, of what happens; 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


less important than the revelation. The privilege and duty and 
experience of taking part in it are central to the Muslim’s faith. 

In this orientation man comes close to God/^ or human destiny 
is fulfilled, in so far as his activity approximates to goodness. And 
goodness, it will be remembered, is here that way of life of which 
the Qur’an is the revelation and Islamic society the expression. 
Man approaches God by participating in the Islamic venture, the 
historical endeavor of the Muslim community to realize the King- 
dom of God on Earth. 

Every religion designates some element in this world as medi- 
ating the other world. It would be going too far to say that for the 
Muslim, history, even Islamic history, mediates the eternal. How- 
ever, this much perhaps one may say. For the Greek, the link 
between finite man and the ultimate scheme of things is ration- 
ality. Man, through his intellect, participates in ultimate reality 
in so far as his ideas are true. For the Christian the link is the 
person of Christ. For the Muslim (and for the Semitic religious 
tradition generally), the mediator between man and God is right- 
eousness. It is in moral behaviour that the human and the divine 
meet. The eternal Word of God is an imperative. 

Before the time of Muhammad, Islam — or more accurately its 
principles, the shar', the essential law of Islam, the elaboration of 
that imperative — existed as a transcendent pattern. The word was 
with God.^^ Since that time, on the other hand, it is perhaps 

whereas it originally meant an acceptance of His pleasure, a dynamic readi- 
ness to give oneself to carrying out what ought to happen. 

This phraseology would perhaps be acceptable as it stands only to the 
5 ufis. Yet even others speak of man’s vision of God (ru’yd.) in the after-life; 
and indeed the concept of Paradise itself (al-jannah) perhaps justifies our 
usage. (Yet on this sentence cf. at ref. 17 below.) 

12 For Muslim (and other non-Christian?) readers it is perhaps necessary 
to indicate that the point that we are trying to make is deliberately, if pro- 
vocatively, phrased after the fundamental Christian text, the prologue to 
the Gospel of St. John {John r. 1-14). We use it because we hope that it may 
help Christians to understand the basic difference between themselves and 
Muslims. It might also be helpful to Muslims to study that passage in elucida- 
tion of the present argument. Muslims and Christians have been alienated 
partly by the fact that both have misunderstood each other’s faith by trying 
to fit it into their own pattern. The most usual error is to suppose (on both 
sides) that tlie roles of Jesus Christ in Christianity and of Muhammad in 
Islam are comparable. We suggest that much more insight is gained if one 
realizes that the role of St. Paul in Christianity and that of Muhammad in 
Islam are much more closely comparable. Both are apostles. St. Paul preached 


^7 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


neither blasphemous nor misleading to say that for the Muslim 
that word has been made iac<jrporate^‘ in history, and has "dwelt 
among us.” 

Even without going so far, observers have noted the paramount 
position of the community in Islam. Less thought has been devoted 
to the significance of Islamic history, which is that community in 
motion. It is well known that Muslim society has a remarkable 
solidarity, that the loyalty and cohesion of its members are in- 
tense. Many have recognized that the community is not only a 
social group but a religious body; that “church and state” are one, 
to use the inappropriate language of the West. We would go much 
further, as has been said, in interpreting this. Yet to stress these 
facts, to insist upon the centrality of society, is not to deny but to 
interpret our initial emphasis on religion as personal. The com- 
munity is based on, as it is integral to, individual faith. 

Not only is Muslim society held together (as are other societies) 
by common loyalties and traditions, and by a very carefully worked 
out system of values and of beliefs. Not only is it the product of a 
superb ideal. It pulsates with the vitality of a profoundly held 


a message, as did Muhammad; only his message, and the message of Chris- 
tianity, is the person of Christ. If one is drawing parallels in terms of the 
structure of the two religions, what corresponds in the Christian scheme to 
the Qur’an is not the Bible but the person of Christ — it is Christ who is 
for Christians the revelation of (from) God. And what corresponds in the 
Islamic scheme to the Bible (the record of revelation) is the Tradition 
(hadlth). These analogies are, of course, not perfect. But we suggest that 
they are closer and more helpful than those usually drawn. (For instance, 
we believe that the counterpart to Biblical criticism is hndith criticism, which 
has begun. To look for historical criticism of the QurTin is rather like looking 
for a psychoanalysis of Jesus.) 

^*For this wording compare not only John i: 14, but also perhaps the 
Christian dogma pertaining to later history, "The Church is the body of 
Christ." 

Christians may find it shocking that we have taken the liberty to venture 
on such bold phraseology as we have resorted to. We do it for the sake of 
illumination. And perhaps the study of comparative religion can hardly be 
serious without being shocking. However, it is interesting to note that in 
Mu'tazilah times there was some sort of awareness on both sides of a parallel 
between the Muslim doctrine of the Qur’an and the Christian logos-doctrine 
of Christ. For one of the Mu’tazilah (‘Abbad ibn Sulayman) accusing another 
Muslim of sharing the Christian belief about the word of God, see Albir 
[Albert] Nasri Nadir, Fahafat al-Mu'tazilah, Alexandria [and Baghdad?], 
1950-51, I: 25: and for a Christian answering a Muslim’s question as to what 
was his view about Christ by saying "My view about Him is the view of the 
ahl al-sunnah about the Qur’an,’’ see ibid., p. 26. 

18 




ISLAM AND HISTORY 

and deeply personal conviction, a religious conviction that is 
warm and meaningful for the individual member. We may say 
that this society, this community, is the expression of a religious 
ideal, using “religious” in the personah' sense earlier proposed. 
As a creed or theological system may be the expression in an intel- 
lectual form of a personal faith — as is often the case, particularly 
with Christians — so a social order and its activities are the expres- 
sion in a practical form of a Muslim’s personal faith. Just as to be 
a Communist^® involves being a member of the Party, so the 
religious conviction of a Muslim implies participation in the 
group. And there is another parallel, to the different sense in 
which to be an Anglican or Roman Catholic means to be a mem- 
ber of the Church, in that the religious experience of a Muslim 
is his experience in the group. 

Membership in the community is not something distinct from 
or added to, is not even simply consequent upon, but is an aspect 
of a personal Islam. 

The social, practical, dynamic character of the faith of Islam — 
in other words, the involvement of this faith within the processes 
of history — may be illustrated at many points. Salvation in Islam 
is, admittedly, by faith; not by worlcs.^^ Yet it is faith in the validity 
of works. It is faith in God, and in the obligatoriness of what He 
has enjoined.®-® A Muslim is saved not in the final analysis by doing 

Above, pp. 7-9. 

1® Comjiare the party-member’s disdain for the "arm-chair socialist," or 
for die "mere intellectual” who thinks but does not join in acting. 

See, for instance, the accepted al-’Aqd’id al-Nasaflyah of Abu hlafs ‘Umar 
al-NasafI, the section on al-Kablrah (“great [sin]”). In the London edition 
of this text (Wm. Cureton, ed.. Pillar of the Creed of the Sunnites, 1843), 
this is p. 3 (second series), lines 9-12. An English translation may be found 
in D. B. Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and 
Constitutional Theory, New York, 1903, p. 311. For elaboration, see the 
‘Isii al-Babi al-plalabl edition of the text, with commentaries, Cairo, 1335 
[1917] pp. 117-124 and the English translation of one of these latter, E. E. 
Elder (trans.), A Commentary on the Creed of Islam, New York, 1950, chap. 
12 (pp. 107-15). 

IS This is the significance of the kalimah, the famous two-clause "creed” of 
Islam. To say "and Muhammad is the apostle of God” is to commit oneself 
to a belief, not about the person of Muhammad, but about the validity of 
what he brought. The personality of Muhammad is essentially irrelevant. To 
declare that he is a prophet is to accept the Qur'an as binding (and there- 
fore the community that lives according to it as embodying on earth what is 
of divine prescription). 


19 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

good works; but by recognizing that they are good, that he ought 
to do them. 

Differences that have arisen within Islam, therefore, have con- 
cerned themselves less with what is true than with what is good.^® 
The sects of Islam have differed amongst themselves not on mat- 
ters of theology so much as on questions of practice. There would 
seem to be no word in Arabic, or indeed in any Islamic language, 
meaning “orthodox.” The word usually translated “orthodox,” 
sunni, actually means rather “orthoprax,” if we may use the 
term.®® A good Muslim is not one whose belief conforms to a given 
pattern, whose commitment may be expressed in intellectual terms 
that are congruent with an accepted statement (as is the case gen- 
erally in Protestant Christianity), but one whose commitment 
may be expressed in practical terms that conform to an accepted 
code. The counterpart to the Christians’ intellectualist concept 
of “heresy” is the Muslims’ procedural bid' ah (which might be 
translated "deviation”). 

Sectarian differences exemplify our point most readily in the 
case of the legal madhdhib. At this level divergencies are relatively 
minor. One comes nearer the heart of the matter with the great 
Sunni-Shi'ah dichotomy in Islam, which arose from a dispute as to 
how society should be organized, what sort of leadership it should 
have. The fundamental religious debates in Islam have been con- 
cerned essentially with what shall be the direction in which the 
on-going historical enterprise is to pi'oceed.®^ 

The underlying notion is of a society in motion. In relation to 
this, the individual must not get out of step, must not turn 
deviationist; while group leadership is responsible for seeing that 
the whole venture knows and follows the right direction. In order 

It could be argued that a closer approximation to the Muslim view 
might be obtained by using the adjective “right” rather than “good” (cf. 
W. D. Ross, 7he Right and the Goodp Oxford, 1930). We retain “good,” 
since we are deliberately attempting to transpose to terms closer to our Greek 
intellectuality what it is that the Muslim believes. 

® Lven sunni may be regarded as a popular term; the technical phrase is 
ahl al-sunnah wa al-jamd'ah, which stresses again the community aspect. 

21 We do not mean that Islam knew no theological discussion. It did not 
begin as early as moral-sociological (the Khawarij), but presently genuine 
creedal issues were debated, as between the Mu'tazilah and the Asha'irah. 
When we say that these debates were not “fundamental,” we mean that they 
did not affect the community so basically as in Christian history, or as the 
other issues affected Islam. 


20 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


that it know, there is the body of ‘ulamd, the mufti (the religious 
scholars); in order that it follow, there is, ideally, the khildfah 
(imdmah) (“caliphate”). Usually, points at issue are minor; but 
in principle and in final analysis, although the matter has never 
been phrased in these terms, yet there is a sense in which the basic 
Islamic question is what form Islamic history shall take. 

Finally, perspective and illumination on the relation of Islam 
to history may be won by sketching a comparison with the posi- 
tions of three other major Weltanschauungen: the Hindu, Chris- 
tian, Marxist. Of course, the matter is in each of these cases elab- 
orate and subtle; only a highly simplified, schematic indication of 
general type is here attempted. By ignoring complexities, one 
might arrange representatives of these faiths in a graded series as 
follows: the Hindu, for whom ultimately history is not significant; 
the Christian, for whom it is significant but not decisive; the 
Muslim, for whom it is decisive but not final; the Marxist, for 
whom it is all in all. 

Hindu teaching especially is manifold, but for our illustration 
we may single out characteristic doctrines. A religious, or anyway 
moral, significance is given to history in the concept of karma-, yet 
salvation lies in extrication from this. For the Hindu, history, 
sarnsdra, is to be transcended. Indeed, this world and all its activity 
are mdyd. Protests have been lodged against translating this sim- 
ply as “illusion”; yet the tangible world and its transient develop- 
ment remain but a veil that religious insight pierces to the motion- 
less truth beyond. 

For the Christian, history paradoxically both is and is not 
fundamental. It is ceaselessly significant, but never final and de- 
cisive. God’s activity in history was crucial; human activity in 
history thereafter must be the result, not the criterion and not 
even the theatre, of faith. Morality flows out of, not into, salva- 
tion. History accordingly is the field of Christian endeavour, and 
it has a purpose that is divine. Yet it is also the field of human 
sinfulness, so that that purpose is relentlessly frustrated. The 
Christian, therefore, in his historical endeavour, hopes for for- 
giveness rather than utopia. 

In this connection we may draw attention to the significant and 
startling fact that the concept “Islamic history” exists at all. In 
the strict sense there is no such thing as Christian history; cer- 
tainly there is no Hindu history. There is the history of Hindus 


21 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

and of Christendom, there is even the history of the Christian 
Church; but these are not quite the same thing. As Reinhold 
Niebuhr and others have been vigorously reminding us of late, 
history can never be fully Christian. Man’s attempt to build a 
Kingdom of God on Earth, a just and harmonious and ever more 
prosperous social order, imagining that finally history itself can 
be redeemed, is, they have been preaching, an aberration — as it 
will, inevitably, be a failure. And even those who do believe that 
to Christianize history is a feasible proposition, a legitimate goal, 
admit that it has not yet been done. At the most it is an ideal 
to be striven for, something for the future. Even for the optimist, 
a Christian history has not yet begun. 

Nonetheless, Christianity takes very seriously the all too human 
history that has long since begun; in which the Christian like 
others is and ought to be involved. The Cross illuminates both 
the heights and the depths of human nature, laying bare at once 
the love and the wickedness of which history is intrinsically com- 
pounded. It symbolizes the lengths to which we are called upon 
to go, as well as the frustration which we are warned to expect, 
because of our own perversity which we are taught to recognize. 
Accordingly the significance of the historical process lies not in 
how much we accomplish, but in how devotedly we love. It is the 
Christian’s duty, because he is a Christian, to try to save and to 
improve civilization, consecrating his life to and if the need arise 
sacrificing it in the relentless struggle to make history approximate 
to justice, and to make a fuller, better life available to all mankind. 
Yet it is also the Christian’s duty, because he is a Christian, to 
contemplate with equanimity the possibility of failure. American 
jitteriness at the present menace to Western civilization is a dis- 
concerting measure of the extent to which there has been substi- 
tuted for the Christian faith a faith in the American way of life. 

Not that Islam, of course, even in its most legalist form, ever 
became fully idolatrous. Attention was never confined to the this- 
worldly manifestation of value. For the Muslims, involvement in 
history, though absorbing, is at the most only the obverse of their 
coin; the reverse of which, polished, brilliant, and pure gold, is 
in the other world. Islam begins with God, and to Him it well 
knows we shall return. Its endeavour to redeem history, though 
total, is derived; it is an endeavour to integrate temporal righteous- 
ness in this world with a timeless salvation in the next. 


22 


ISLAM AND HISTORY 

The deep significance of this is in part made clear in the stark 
unlikeness here to our fourth example: Marxism. In other aspects 
of their orientation to history, Islam and Marxism — the world’s 
two chief large-scale endeavours to implement a social ideal — have 
much in common, more than any other religion has in common 
with Marxism, with the partial exception of Islam’s prototype, 
Judaism. The disparity in this one aspect is therefore telling. 
Indeed, in this contrast one can find illumination on the general 
question of the crucial difference that is made in history by a 
concern for the extra-historical. 

The Marxist movement we may take as the largest, most reso- 
lute, organized, explicit attempt in man’s development thus far 
to construct a good society, to control historical development and 
to realize within it a dream of what life for the human community 
should be.®** It is distinguished from the religions, of course, by its 
exclusive concern with this mundane world. It is distinguished 
also from Western humanism, from the impulsion instanced in 
secular liberalism and in the American and French revolutions, 
by its intense and all-inclusive articulation, its total concentration 
on this one ambition. It puts every last egg in the historical bas- 
ket: nothing whatever matters but the kind of history that it is 
sure will, and is determined shall, evolve. In its view there is no 
meaning, no value, and in the end no reality,*® to human life other 
than its meaning as an item in the on-going historical process, 
as a contributor or obstacle to the kind of history that is to obtain 
tomorrow. It is as a means to an end, or in any case in relation to 
that end, an end that is given within and by history, that in 

22 The use of the terms “good” and “should” is not quite justified, nor yet 
quite invalid. The Kremlin subsequently repudiated the moral aspect of 
Communism’s goal, in a trend that culminated in the Great Purge of the 
mid-1930's. Yet there was a strong moral element in the original impulse of the 
movement, and it has remained powerful for fellow-travellers and for novices 
in the party. It is our view that the later repudiation of morality was not 
unrelated to the original metaphysical position that history is self-sufficient, 
and a closed system; see below in the present discussion. We hold, accord- 
ingly, that the Marxist movement began, and is still sustained from the out- 
side, particularly in Asia, as a movement toward a good society; and that its 
failure to maintain this objective internally has been due at least in part to 
the false metaphysics of its Weltanschauung. 

22 Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848: “Human nature, . . . man in 
general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, . . . exists only in the misty 
realm of philosophical fantasy.” From the Authorized Indian Edition, 
People’s Publishing House, Bombay, 1944, p. 52. 


25 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

Marxism the human person has significance; and this is his only 
significance, for himself and for others. 

There follows logically what in observable fact has followed 
historically; namely, that for Marxism there is no reason (literally 
no reason: our universe, the movement posits, is the kind of uni- 
verse where there cannot conceivably be any reason) for not kill- 
ing or torturing or exploiting a human person if his liquidation or 
torture or slave labour rvill advance the historical process. 

This is, indeed, the logical outcome of any repudiation of 
transcendence. The non-Marxist movements of repudiation in the 
West have, so far, avoided these frightening historical conse- 
quences by being less relentlessly logical, and by being less con- 
sistently comprehensive. They have not taken themselves quite 
so seriously, nor imposed themselves so exclusively. Dewey and the 
social scientists, too, reject metaphysics and the Other World. Yet 
there is an important “cultural lag” that fortunately saves the 
West from the worst consequences of its own technological prag- 
matism. Further, the non-Marxist secularists lay stress on indi- 
vidualism. This is a stress on the part rather than on the whole, 
from the viewpoint of historical development; and also, if our 
own view of the nature of the individual and of the universe be at 
all valid, it is despite themselves a stress on transcendence. The 
kind of reason inhibiting us from killing or torturing or exploit- 
ing our neighbours, even for a worthy cause, the Marxists assert 
is based on reasoning from metaphysical or religious or other non- 
historical reality. They are correct in this assertion. To insist that 
there is a timeless quality in human personality, an intrinsic value 
or disvalue in certain means, whatever the ends, and in certain 
moments today, whatever come tomorroxv, is to insist that the 
whole meaning and nature of existence are not subsumed within 
the historical process. 

We have emphasized that for the Muslim history is important. 
But for the Marxist it alone is important, and the difference here 
is vast. For the Muslim, like the Marxist but unlike the Ffindu, 
what happens here below is of inescapable and lasting significance. 
The building up of a proper community life on earth is a supreme 
imperative. Surely the Islamic enterprise has been the most serious 
and sustained endeavour ever put forward to implement Justice 
among men; and until the rise of Marxism was also the largest and 
most ambitious. Yet it differs from the Marxist in that for Islam 




ISLAM AND HISTORY 

every mundane event has two references, is seen in two contexts. 
Every move that a man makes has an eternal as well as a temporal 
relevance. The on-going march of mundane affairs is a great col- 
lective drama of group achievement; at the same time it is a 
series of discrete items, of which each human individual will at 
the Day of Judgement be accountable for his personal share. That 
is, every deed has consequences of one kind in this world, and 
consequences of another kind in the world to come. In other 
words, each action must be assessed in itself, as well as in its rela- 
tion to historical development. 

This sort of judgment, it can be argued by the metaphysician, 
comes closer to the objective reality of the kind of world in which 
we live, the kind of being that human beings are, and the kind 
of life that history consists in our living, than does any one-sided 
view that denies a morality transcending the temporal flux. 
History has meaning, ultimate meaning; but its meaning is not 
exhausted within itself. Rather there are norms and standards, 
standing above the historical process, according to which that 
process may and must be and indeed is being judged. 

Whatever the metaphysical position, the empirical historian 
may note the mundane, historical counterpart of this logical argu- 
ment. In practice, as well as in theory, they who start by denying 
transcendence end by denying value. The Marxist doctrine has in 
fact let itself be embodied in a movement wherein not only are 
the means amoral and indeed by any known criteria immoral, but 
also the end itself has been lost. “Social justice” which the Marxist 
first set out to achieve has become in the hands of the actual 
Soviet organization but one more historical concept, an ideological 
weapon to serve the purposes of nihilistic mundane power. The 
Marxist movement, repudiating external norms by which it may 
be judged, has eventuated rather quickly in an enterprise with no 
norms at all. Man’s one utterly this-worldly venture after Justice 
has rapidly turned sour. 

Our point is simply to illuminate the quality of the Islamic 
attitude to history that emerges from its insistence on the tran- 
scendent reference of each step in the historical process. This has 
been a guarantee both of whatever ability to avoid going sour 
the movement has maintained in the course of its persistence 
through history, and of that persistence itself over now many cen- 
turies. By Islam this insistence on the transcendent reference has 


25 


ISLAM AND HISTORY 

been symbolized in the notion of Heaven and Hell, of another 
world “after” the end of history. This colourful, dramatic metaphor 
has impinged with a fluctuating but never negligible urgency on 
the whole course of the Muslims’ historical development. Collec- 
tively and singly they have sought both Paradise beyond this world 
and, within history, a kind of society which, they believe, is proper 
to personal preparation for that Paradise and at the same time 
proper to the mundane scene itself, correct both for the individual 
for the next world and for the community for this. With the Chris- 
tians, they have shared the conviction that the former is, in the 
final analysis, more important. That is, they have believed that the 
course of history in its total sweep is ultimately less significant 
than the quality of one’s personal life. Yet they have approximated 
also to the Marxists in their conviction that the course of history 
and the social shape that it may assume are profoundly relevant 
to the quality of personal life within it; that there is inherent in 
the structure of this world and its development a proper course, a 
right social shape; that the meaning of history lies in the degree 
to which these become actualized; and finally that they who under- 
stand the essential laws for these, and accept the responsibility 
involved, are entrusted with the task of executing that actualiza- 
tion, of guiding history to its inevitable and resplendent ful- 
fillment.“* 

So much for the Islamic theory of history.^® Let us turn for a 

2 * It behoves us perhaps to add a word in regard to Judaism. Much at- 
tention has recently been given by scholars to the question of the religious 
significance of history, particularly in Old Testament times, for that faith. 
In many ways the Jewish and the Muslim attitudes to the historical process 
are similar. As throughout, Islam may be seen as in part a kind of fulfillment 
of the Jewish development. There is, however, an important distinction. In 
the Old Testament attitude, history itself is continuingly revelatory. History 
is to revelation as subject to predicate, rather than vice versa. Classical 
Hebrew thought learned from history, and — so the modern interpretation 
runs — put what it learned into its scripture. Islamic thought learned from 
scripture, and put what it learned into history. Ideally, for Islam, history 
ought to be subordinated to revelation — ^which is final. For the Old Testa- 
ment, revelation itself is a long-term process. 

25 It is perhaps incumbent to refer to the two studies on what might seem 
ostensibly this topic: the article by H. A. R. Gibb, ta’rIkh, in The Encyclo- 
paedia of^ Islam, Supplement, Leiden, 1938 (there are three articles under 
this heading: one in vol. IV and two in the Supplement; Gibb’s is the second 
of the latter two); and Franz Rosenthal, A History of Muslim Historiography, 
Leiden, 1952. However, what we mean by "history” is not just ta’rikh; the 

26 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

moment to consider practice: the history of the Muslims as it has 
worked out empirically. The two things are, of course, intertwined. 
The actual course of the Muslims’ historical development, espe- 
cially in its early centuries, greatly affected the conception that 
they elaborated of this world and of Islam’s role in it. The germ 
of this conception is found in the Qur’an; but the full doctrine is 
the product of men who studied the Qur’an from the vantage 
point of the particular historical situation in which they found 
themselves, and in the light of as much of Islamic history as al- 
ready lay behind them. Certainly the idea of history implicit in 
their religion has vitally affected the course of their mundane 
career (and as we shall presently be contending at length, con- 
tinues to affect it). Equally certainly the latter has affected that 
idea. 

So much, indeed, have fact and ideology interacted, that once 
again we must stress the fluidity and comprehensiveness of this 
idea of history, its varying from century to century and even from 
person to person. We must stress again too the concomitant fact 
that our or any presentation of that idea is at best a generalized 
abstraction, an approximation to a classical type. Nonetheless ideas, 
although they ever bear marks of the environment in which they 
are born, and are understood in ways related to the environment 
in which they are interpreted, yet have a life and power of their 
own. This is supremely true of religious ideas, whose persistence 
and persuasiveness far outstretch in space and time the original 
milieu to which they are, as it were, naturally correlated. The later 
history of any religious community, accordingly, is to be construed 
only in terms jointly of its contemporary situation and of its 
inherited ideals. 

In the case of the Muslims, it is our thesis, to be elaborated in 
due course, that both their religious condition today and their 
potentialities, mundane and other, for tomorrow have to do with 
a tension between these two — between their sense on the one hand 
of what Islamic history is essentially, and their awareness on the 
other hand of what their actual history is today observably. 

Arabic for our concept is rather al-dunyd, or better, al-dunyd al-mutatawwirah. 
We would suggest as a translation of the title of our present chapter, "al-Isldm 
wa al-tatawzuur." In older, slower days, however, the concern for society (so 
conspicuous in Islam) was not consciously a concern for the process of de- 
velopment of that society in time. We should mention also, as relevant to our 
discussion, the seminal work of H. Butterfield, Christianity and History, 
London, 1949. 


27 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

That tension in its present degree is new. In the past, particu- 
larly the classical past, the Muslim could look out upon a world 
in which the essence and the existence of Islam more nearly con- 
verged. The religious reality in which his faith taught him to 
believe, and the historical reality by which he saw himself sur- 
rounded, seemed in reasonable equilibrium.^'’ 

Of the early history of Islam on earth, a salient characteristic 
is overt success. This is in sharp contrast with the early Christian 
counterpart as well as with the late Islamic. The first, formative 
centuries of Islam were centuries of temporal as well as spiritual 
achievement, an age of conquest and brilliance. The Muslims 
burst forth in triumph into the surrounding lands. The Persian 
empire and much of the Roman fell before them. The new com- 
munity expanded, it prospered; it became both powerful, effecting 
large-scale operational control, and great. Islam quickly estab- 
lished and took responsibility for a new order stretching from the 
Pyrenees to the Himalayas, an empire larger than the Roman at 
its height; and followed up political dominion with wealth and 
with social and cultural advance. 

The success was comprehensive as well as striking. As we have 
said, the enterprise gained not only power but greatness. In addi- 
tion to quickly attaining political and economic mastery, Muslim 
society carried forward into new accomplishments both art and 
science. Its armies won battles, its decrees were obeyed, its letters 
of credit were honoured, its architecture was magnificent, its 
poetry charming, its scholarship imposing, its mathematics bold, 
its technology effective. 

The success, furthermore, was of an Islam creative and respon- 
sible. The conquerors of Jerusalem and Damascus, of the Nile 
valley and the Tigris-Euphrates, of North Afi'ica and Spain on the 
one hand and of Central Asia into India on the other, proved not 
only prosperous but original and constructive. They brought into 
being a new civilization. On a new linguistic and legal as well as 
administrative and commercial basis, a great neiv society arose — 

20 This is the substance of the classical Sunni position. The KharijI and 
Shil were those minorities for whom the status quo was an inadequate social 
expression of the Islamic ideal. Yet their outlook too was not radically differ- 
ent, in that their movements were motivated by a confidence that they could 
realize in practice true Islam once they came to power. The divinely ordained 
pattern of society was either achieved or certainly achievable. 

28 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

under their endeavour and guidance, the product of their power- 
ful spirit. 

The success, moreover, was religious. The Muslim achievement 
was seen as intrinsic to their faith. They were not only victorious 
on the battlefield and effective in many diverse departments of 
living, but they succeeded also, and again in a relatively short 
period of time, in integrating life into that wholeness that consti- 
tutes a culture. Many elements went into the making of Islamic 
civilization: elements from Arabia, from Hellenism, from the 
Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, from Sasani Iran, from 
India. The achievement of the Muslims was that they welded these 
into a homogeneous way of life, and also carried it forward into 
new development. And it was Islam that provided the integration, 
as it provided too the drive and power to sustain it. Islamic form 
was given to almost every aspect of life, whatever its content. And 
it was an Islamic pattern that gave the society cohesion as well as 
vitality. The centre of this unifying force was religious law, which 
regulated within its powerful and precise sweep everything from 
prayer rites to property rights. The law gave unity to Islamic 
society, from Cordoba to Multan. It gave unity also to the indi- 
vidual Muslim, his entire life activity being organized into a mean- 
ingful whole by this divine pattern. It gave unity also in time, 
providing the community with continuity, as dynasties rose and 
fell and could be regarded as episodes in the persisting enterprise 
of Islam’s endeavour to build on earth the kind of social order 
that the divine imjoerative prescribes. 

The satisfying success of this enterprise, and even the enterprise 
itself, contrast with the corresponding earthly career of the early 
Christians. Their religion was launched upon a world already 
organized, and their formative centuries were spent under some- 
one else’s rule. Christianity for a time served in significant measure 
as the faith of the proletariat of the Roman empire; whereas 
nascent Islam was the faith, and indeed the raison d’etre, of an 
entrepreneurial ruling class. The Christian religion advened in a 
world that was already a going concern, with its laws and its lan- 
guages, its government and its economic structure. While Chris- 
tians concerned themselves with their personal moral lives, the 
task of organizing a social order had long since been accomplished, 
and the task of carrying it on rested on other people’s shoulders. 

Indeed, early Christianity was persecuted. For it, the superlative 


ISLAM AND HISTORY 


virtue was the moral stamina of martyrdom, the ability of the 
person by inner resources to stand against the course of history.^'^ 
Even in group life the ideal was to stand apart from the course. 
And in practice the social community of the Church had for three 
centuries little say as to how history at large should proceed. The 
ordering of the historical process was no part of the Christian 
programme. 

It is worth our while to digress for a further moment from the 
historical progress of Islam itself, since it is instructive to follow 
the later development of the Christian-Western situation. The 
oppression that marked the early stages of the Christians’ historical 
experience was in time outgrown. They did not always remain a 
minority, on the defensive or distrait. Yet even when they came 
to constitute society rather than to protect themselves against it, 
and when in the historical flux they themselves reached positions 
of responsibility and power, they took over the social order as an 
extant and functioning process. They retained it; yet as something 
extrinsic to their faith. As Christians they might see their duty 
as at most to improve it, but not to replace it with something new. 

Accordingly, modern Western civilization (alone among the 
great cultures of man) is dual. It is explicitly a civilization com- 
posed of two traditions, which it has never integrated: one from 
Greece and Rome, one from Palestine. Throughout, these two 
have existed and developed side by side: sometimes in conflict, 
sometimes in uneasy tension, sometimes in harmony, but never 
fused. Though they have influenced each other profoundly, they 
have remained distinct. For the West it is axiomatic that such 
things as grammar, and hygiene, and politics (which it derives 
from its Greco-Roman background) are to be distinguished from 
matters of the spiritual life (from the Palestinian, Biblical heri- 
tage). And in both its traditions it is deeply persuaded that the 
distinction is important and ought to be retained — the discrimina- 

27 Contrast the classical Muslim conception of "martyr" (shahid), who gave 
his life fighting not against history but with it. His death was seen as ft sabll 
Allah, "in the path of God,” i.e. in the furtherance of the Islamic cause in 
the world. He died in a battle that was tliought of as extending the ddr al- 
Islam-, that is, extending the mundane area of Islamic control. The Christian 
Church, on the other hand, had at this time no thought of historical, earthly 
success. It saw the martyr as allowing himself to be overwhelmed by history 
but not vanquished by it. He was winning a spiritual victory in the face of 
a this-worldly defeat. 

30 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


tion between the secular (the word originally means, in effect, the 
“historical”) and the religious. 

Even when Christians, therefore, have in their turn become 
successful on the worldly plane, this has not been regarded as a 
success for them as Christians, as an achievement of or for their 
faith. That the course of history should prove favorable is no par- 
ticular spiritual triumph.^® Conversely, a disintegration in tem- 
poral affairs is not, for Christians, a religious failure. 

Indeed, Christianity has been in some ways supremely a religion 
of adversity. Admittedly, as a great world religion it has like Islam 
and the others been meaningful in divergent ways to different 
kinds of people in many different situations. Yet not far from its 
centre has almost always been a note of wistfulness. It has in a 
sense been at its best in times of distress. The cross, at the core of 
its faith, is a symbol of suffering. Christianity is a religion of 
triumph out of sorrow, of salvation in the midst of defeat. Islam 
is equally multi-faceted: it too in its worldwideness has had some- 
thing significant and personal and direct to say to different men in 
very diverse circumstances, and in its Sufi version has stressed quite 
other interpretations. To the individual it has certainly given a 
superb self-control in the face of adversity. Yet its emphasis is on 
moral choice,^® on the individual and society doing the right, and 
therefore the effective, thing. In some ways, at least for the com- 
munity, it has been characteristically a religion of triumph in 
success, of salvation through victory and achievement and power. 

28 We do not deny that some Christians have taken pride, even a spiritual 
pride, in worldly success. They have regarded power, wealth, productivity, 
as an indication of their own or their society’s moral excellence. But this is 
contrary to the central genius of Christianity, and has almost never been 
seriously advanced by outstanding exponents of church doctrine. Bor every 
leader who has argued in this sense, there have been more than one taking 
the opposite position: that worldly success is a temptation, and satisfaction 
in it is a sin. Even when, as with the Puritans, mundane prosperity was taken 
as a proof of virtue, it was seen as the reward for, rather than the application 
of, faith; and usually as an individual, rather than a community, achieve- 
ment. Muslim piety, too, even before the fall of Baghdad, warned the in- 
dividual against self-righteousness and a pride in riches, but thought it right 
and proper that Muslim society should flourish. The Christian movement 
recently approaching most nearly the Muslim position has been that of 
“The Social Gospel.” One may perhaps compare also earlier heresies through- 
out Christian history: the Waldensian, Anabaptist, etc. 

2 ® For an elaboration of this point, see Marshall G. S. Hodgson, “A com- 
parison of Islam and Christianity,” a paper read before a seminar at the 
University of Chicago, 1955. 


31 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

Let US return, then, to our consideration of the actual develop- 
ment of Islamic society on earth, having gained this clarification 
of the significance of its first success and homogeneity. We saw the 
early Muslims taking on the whole burden, and opportunity, of 
government — and more than government, of cultural creation in 
the widest sense. We saw that they executed this assignment with 
remarkable distinction, so that presently they could look out upon 
the society that they had constructed with the gratifying sense that 
it led the world. God had told men how to live; those who accepted 
this and set out to live so were visibly receiving His blessing. 

They were therein also illustrating the soundness of the plan. 
In Islam God had spoken; through it He was acting. The brilliant 
success of the enterprise confirmed the validity of the whole con- 
ception. History confirmed faith. 

History, however, moves. 

If one truth of earthly Islam is that its programme worked for 
a lime well, another is that it was only for a time. As others of 
man’s civilizations have done across the centuries, the Arab civili- 
zation rose, flourished for a period — and declined. The fall of 
Baghdad in 1258 marks the formal end of the once tremendously 
successful Arab empire. The Mongol invasions that that fall epito- 
mizes certainly dealt the Arab world a devastating blow. Many 
millions were killed; whole areas were laid utterly waste; and politi- 
cal rule in the centre of the Muslim world passed into the hands of 
barbarian infidels. Yet the date is but a symbol. On the one hand, 
Arab culture flourished for another two centuries and more in 
areas unravaged by the Mongols, notably Cairo and Spain. On the 
other hand, it can be argued that the conquest in the thirteenth 
century gave the coup de grace to a civilization already past its 
prime. There had already been vicissitudes, especially political. 
It is not to our purpose here to trace the course or to investigate 
the causes of the disintegration of the Islamic achievement in its 
first, Arab phase. We simply observe that the disaster happened. 
The classical period of Islamic history came to an end. 

This constituted in a sense the first great crisis of Islamic 
history^" (as we shall presently urge that the modern period con- 

An argument could be made, but it would take us too far afield here to 
elaborate it, that the eventual failure of the Arab venture was the second 
rather than the first great crisis: that the first was rather the death of Mu- 


52 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

stitutes the second). Islamic history seemed to have bogged down. 
It could be felt that the great endeavour to realize God’s purpose 
was petering out, if it had not actually failed. 

Islam on earth survived this crisis. It survived, but not inertly; 
rather, it responded creatively to the challenge. For it presently 
emerged into new and rather different, and in some ways fuller 
expression. As the European “Middle Ages” drew to their close, 
Islam’s mediaeval period — between its classical and its modern 
eras — got under way. To historians of Islam, whether Muslim or 
Western, this mediaeval phase of Islamic development has been 
the subject of much less concern than the classical. Yet there was 
much that was new, and much that is significant. Islam produced 


hammad. This came so close to the beginnings of things — before any of the 
Muslims’ records, for instance, were compiled, let alone their theories formu- 
lated — tliat it has received little attention. The solution to the crisis is 
presupposed in all subsequent Islamic thinking; that is, in virtually all 
Islamic thinking. The point at issue when the Prophet died, however, was in 
fact whether there should be any Islamic history at all. Some of the mem- 
bers of the then community felt (e.g., the Badu) that the affair was now 
over: they had given their allegiance to a leader, he had died, and that was 
that. Others felt that socially the status quo ante should now be restored: 
tribal and urban realities should once more be recognized, while religious 
faith presumably would take its individual course on those bases. The pro- 
posal that finally prevailed, however (not without struggle, and indeed even 
armed struggle), was to reject these possibilities and instead to keep the 
community of Muhammad’s followers intact, as a socio-political-economic 
unit and as one that would sally forth into the world to implement as a unit 
the new revelation. The immense significance of this decision, and indeed 
the fact that it was a decision, which conceivably might not have been taken, 
seem to have received less attention than they deserve. It is surely one of the 
most sweepingly consequential decisions in all human development. Those (in- 
cluding, of course, practically all Muslims since) who take for granted that, 
given Muhammad’s career, it was the only logical or an inevitable decision, 
forget how little in man’s history is either logical or inevitable. 

That the community should remain and should choose a leader for itself 
in the Prophet’s place, can be seen as a more basic matter than the question — 
which has received untold attention — of who that leader should be. Those 
(all but the Shi’i Muslims) who note that the Prophet left no guidance on the 
latter question, usually tacitly presume that the former decision he nonethe- 
less took for granted. To the present writer this is not clear. It would be 
interesting to investigate what evidence there may be that he foresaw the 
problem. In our view, it is the subsequent rather than the preceding history 
of the community that makes the course finally chosen at the saqlfat Ban! 
Sa’idah seem so natural. 

(One may note further the not unimportant view that the onslaught of 
Greek thought was the real great crisis of classical Islam.) 


33 




ISLAM AND HISTORY 

in this second major phase various constructive answers to the 
problems posed. 

Religiously, the fundamental innovation was the spread of 
Sufism. The Sufi or mystic interpretation of Islam goes back to, 
and even through, the classical period. Yet at that time it was the 
treasure of a small minority, an 61 ite of the pious withdrawn from 
the main stream of Islamic advance. As the Arab period began to 
weaken, more and more in Muslim society turned to this some- 
what precious version of the faith. The mediaeval period ex- 
panded it widely. For instance, it developed the organized Sufi 
order, which gradually spread throughout the length and breadth 
of the Islamic world. The movement was institutionalized and 
popularized. There was development also in interpretations. For 
example, the greatest of the Sufis, Jalalu-d-Din Rumi, produced 
his poem Masnavi a few years after the fall of Baghdad (it is not 
too fanciful to compare the appearance of Augustine’s City of God 
following the fall of Rome?). Non- Arab Islam is steeped in Sufism; 
and even the Arabs, in post-classical times, infused much that is 
Sufi in their understanding of the faith." 

Secondly, Islam converted the conquerors. Within fifty years 
the Mongol dynasty that had subjugated so much of the Islamic 
world and set up over it an alien dominion, itself became Mus- 
lim — itself took on the role of champion of the Islamic cause. The 
new rulers undertook with conviction, energy, and brilliance to 
promote again the very enterprise that they had recently seemed 
to overthrow. 

This may be seen as one instance of the third great development: 
of Islam finding for itself in this new period new peoples and new 
cultures to carry forward its advance. If the Arab spirit had spent 
itself, historical Islam soon began to flower afresh in Persian and 
in Turkish forms. These forms were different from any previously 

The Arabs did not have the creativity, or the good fortune, to produce 
§ufl poets of the Persian quality and depth, and had to be content to have 
their greatest expressions of the mystical view of God and the world in prose. 
It is interesting to speculate whether this may have played any part in the 
Arab world's adopting Sufism less fully than the Persians, Turks, and Indians 
have done — in addition, of course, to more obvious and straightforward 
reasons such as the Arabs’ greater closeness to classical Islam. It is at least 
questionable whether the intellectual expression even of a Ghazzali or an 
Ibn al-‘Arabi can in the nature of the case be as adequate an expression of 
the truth that the mystics have grasped, as the artistic expression of a Ruml. 


34 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

known — different in governmental framework and political theory, 
in economic structure and social organization, in cultural and 
aesthetic values. With these differences, doubtless because of them, 
the Muslims again marched forward to historical achievement. 
After the nadir of the thirteenth century came fairly soon a re- 
rising culminating in a new zenith in the sixteenth. The latter in 
some ways could be represented as the Muslims’ greatest century 
to date: with the Ottoman empire at its mightiest and most re- 
splendent, Europe quaking before its seemingly inexorable drive; 
the Safavis in Iran, combining imperial power with artistic 
exquisiteness: the Mughuls in India, composing of power, wealth, 
and sophisticated beauty the greatest rule the subcontinent had 
seen for many a long day. 

Nor was Islam’s second earthly efflorescence confined to the 
building of empires. There was expansion also in geographical 
and in spiritual senses. The second great wave both of military 
conquest and of missionary zeal carried the world of Islam north 
into Asia Minor and the Balkans and Central Asia, south into 
Negro Africa, east into Indonesia. Mediaeval Islam at least doubled 
classical Islam’s extension in space and numbers. Once again the 
historical enterprise of the Muslims seemed in full swing. 

Nevertheless, with the partial and certainly significant excep- 
tion of the Turks, this second, mediaeval outburst of historical 
creativity has not been generally regarded by the Muslims as fully 
intrinsic to Islam. This period has not been seen as a major in- 
stance of “Islamic” history in quite the same sense as the first, 
classical period. What the Muslims effected in it is not so keenly 
felt to be another example of Islam at work in the world, organiz- 
ing into a divine pattern the flux of historical development. We 
shall be investigating the Turkish exception presently, in its bear- 
ing on the modern situation in Turkey, and investigating also 
other particular interpretations. The general reasons for the differ- 
ence in attitude are not entirely clear. Tentatively, three such 
reasons may be suggested, though doubtless there are others, and 
the whole subject needs exploration. 

First, the early phase of Islamic history takes precedence over 
all others simply because it came first. The original becomes the 
normative; the classical period becomes “classical” in the sense 
of exemplary, standard. Later periods, which differ from it (and 
it is of the nature of history that each period necessarily differs 


35 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 


from what went before), are thought of as deviating from itd^ The 
first historical expression of the movement is felt to be the “right” 
expression — or not even as an expression at all, but as the move- 
ment in its pure form. (For example: the Law, which both as a 
developed concept and as an actual system is in fact an historical 
product of the second and third centuries hijri, has come to be 
regarded as part of the transcendent essence of Islam. This comes 
from taking history seriously, but not quite seriously enough.) 

Moreover, the mediaeval Muslims themselves felt a much less 
close link than did classical Muslims between the temporal and 
the eternal; between their own history and true Islam. The his- 
torical leaders and the religious leaders came to feel that they 
were leading two different things. Politically, the khalifah gave 
place to the sultan-, that is, a religious executive was replaced by 
an explicitly independent mundane power. It would be an exag- 
geration to regard the Sultan as a “secular” ruler. Yet he comes 
much closer to this Western concept than his predecessor had done, 
at least in theory. In the concept of the state and of society that 
came to be accepted among mediaeval Muslims, religion was seen 
almost as coordinate with other aspects of the world’s life, rather 
than as their coordinator. Classical Islamic political theory had 
seen the faith as ideally the regulator of life and society, assigning 
each his due place, with the temporal ruler’s function that of 
carrying out religion’s decrees. Mediaeval Muslim political theory, 
on the other hand, saw it as the emperor’s task to maintain the 
balance of mundane society, giving each group within the social 
order its due place and function: the army, the bureaucracy, the 
peasantry, etc., and also the ‘ulamd’.^^ 

22 An illustrative instance: "The earlier past of Islam represents its basic 
principles, true essence and immortal teachings," Sobhi Mahmassani, in 
“Muslims: Decadence and Renaissance. Adaptation of Islamic Jurisprudence 
to Modern Social Needs,” The Muslim World, Hartford, 44: 186 (1954). This 
chance quotation is not particularly authoritative, but is apt; and the idea 
expressed is representative of an almost unlimited number of Muslim writers. 

22 This point has been brought to my attention by my colleague Prof. 
Niyazi Berkes in one of his seminars. He hopes to investigate it in some 
detail and write on the matter for future publication. In the meantime, 
others are incipiently turning attention to the same sort of point: cf. Ann 
K. S. Lambton, "The Theory of Kingship in the Nasihat ul-Muluk of Ghazali,” 
in The Islamic Quarterly, London, I: 47-55 (1954); and Leonard Binder, 
"Al-Ghazali's Theory of Islamic Government,” in The Muslim World, Hart- 
ford, 45:829-41 (1955). 


^6 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

Thirdly, this incipient sense of separateness between mundane 
history and spiritual life is manifested on the spiritual side as well 
as on the political. It is not merely that even the formal religious 
leaders accepted the new political theory.®* More basic in this con- 
nection is the new religious interpretation of the mystics that was, 
as we have said, gaining ground — even though it never fully 
usurped the official classical view. 

Sufism difiiers from the classical Sunni Weltanschauung TRAicdlly, 
and not least in its attitude to history, the temporal mundane. It 
stresses the individual rather than society, the eternal rather than 
the historical, God’s love rather than His power, and the state of 
man’s heart rather than behaviour. It is more concerned that one’s 
soul be pure than that one’s actions be correct. Some Sufis thought 
the Law unimportant. Most regarded it as a private discipline 
guiding the person towards transcendent fulfilment, and paid 
little heed to its function in ordering society, in marshalling his- 
tory into a prescribed pattern. 

Clearly, then, the Sufi, little interested in the historical process®® 
and conceiving a God who is little interested, had a faith well 
suited to cope with earthly turmoil and distress; and enabling him 
to stand undismayed before external disaster. By the same token, 
however, his faith was less suited to political guidance. Like the 
Christians’, it needed supplementing by a secular political acumen 
for the man in office whose responsibility was to guide society 
rather than himself. The Sufi could become indifferent also to 
historical success. Just as the world’s calamities could not affright 
him, neither could its triumphs elate. To be specific, an Islam 
that, impregnated with Sufism, had learned to survive the mis- 
fortunes of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, was not so 
concerned to appropriate to itself the earthly glories of the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth. 

3 ^ The great example is the famous Osmanli Seyh-ul-lslam, Ebiissu’ud 
Efendi (1490-1574). See Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., Leiden, 1954- , 

s.v. Abu ‘ 1 -Su‘ud (article by J. Schacht), and the reif. there cited. 

Perhaps a certain caution should be evinced here, lest we fall into a 
too easy overestimation of the unqualified other-worldliness of the mystics. 
Certainly they calculatedly avoided involvement in political processes. And 
in general we believe that our position as stated may stand. Nonetheless there 
was an important Sufi temper according to which the welfare of man on 
earth is best served by the spiritual influence of saintliness (and not that the 
welfare of man on earth is of no significance). The position is perhaps not 
too distant in many cases from the standard Christian one. 


37 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

One must not overemphasize this tendency. The classical version 
of Islam remained ofRcial, and has always remained socially im- 
portant. And there was many a Muslim throughout the world who 
saw in the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 an illustration of 
God’s power as well as of Sultan Mehmet’s. 

In any case, the fact is that in the sixteenth century the Muslim 
world was once again powerful, wealthy, and touched with splen- 
dour. Whatever view he might take of it, the Muslim of this 
period — in Morocco, Istanbul, Isfahan, Agra, Acheh — was partici- 
pant in a history expansive and successful. 

A further fact is that this success did not long persist. The second 
wave of Islamic upsurge was more short-lived than the first. 
Muslim society presently ceased to advance. And by the eighteenth 
century it was in serious decline. 

Very serious decline indeed. There was a disintegration of 
military and political power. There was enfeeblement of commer- 
cial and other economic life. Intellectual effort stagnated. An effete 
decadence infected art. Religious vitality ebbed. The writings of 
the great masters elicited commentaries rather than enthusiasm; 
and the classical systems were used to delimit the road that one 
must travel rather than to provide the impetus for one’s journey. 
On the Sufi side, the orders degenerated from mystic perception 
to gullible superstition; from the serene insight of the saint to the 
anxious abracadabra of the charlatan. 

The Muslim world seemed to have lost the capacity to order 
its life effectively; Muslim society was losing its once firm, proud 
grip on the world. 

Moreover, it so happened that this degeneration coincided with 
the exuberance of Europe. At about this time Western civiliza- 
tion was launching forth on the greatest upsurge of expansive 
energy that human history has ever seen. Vitality, skill, and power 
vastly accumulated. With them the West was presently reshaping 
its own life and soon the life of all the world. 

This new giant, striding forth in exploratory restlessness, met 
the Muslim world and found its own growing might confronted 
with growing infirmity. By 1800 the West was pressing hard on 
such centres of indigenous power as remained, and in many areas 
had imposed its domination. During most of the nineteenth cen- 
tury the pressure and the domination increased. The Dutch in 
Indonesia, the British in India and elsewhere, the Russians in 

55 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

Central Asia, the French in Africa, ruled Muslim society in full 
formality. Iran and the Ottoman Empire retained political sover- 
eignty but were independent without being free. Apart from the 
matter of political control, Muslim society, once august, forceful, 
and alert, was now everywhere in drooping spirit, and subject 
both in initiative and destiny to forces outside Islam. 

The modern period of Islamic history, then, begins with deca- 
dence within, intrusion and menace from without; and the worldly 
glory that reputedly went with obedience to God’s law only a dis- 
tant memory of a happier past. 

We are now ready to recapitulate our argument thus far, as 
preface to our presentation of the modern Muslim situation. Our 
thesis has been that Islam is essentially a religion, and as such 
profoundly personal and also finally transcending all particular- 
ities and the confines of this mundane world and all its affairs; 
nonetheless that it has been distinctively characterized by a deep 
concern for these affairs. It has had a central conviction that the 
true Muslim life includes the carrying out in this world of the 
divine injunction as to how mankind, individually and corpo- 
rately, should live. It has been characterized equally, therefore, by 
an intense loyalty towards its own community. At its fullest, this 
conviction has risen to the vision of building the ideal society. 
Or, if one looks at the same thing from another viewpoint, stress- 
ing God’s initiative rather than human response, one may say, of 
seeing the ideal society built. Still more passively, one may say 
that the true Muslim lives in the ideal society; and to its corporate 
life has a cosmic loyalty. 

In essence Islamic history, therefore, is the fulfillment, under 
divine guidance, of the purpose of human history. It is the King- 
dom of God on earth, to use the Christian phrase;®® the good 
society, to use the Greek. 

We have seen, further, that in fact actual Islamic history was 
for some centuries a more or less acceptable approximation in 
practice to this ideal. We have seen that in its subsequent stages 

Attention was called, in the West, to the incipient Muslim usage of this 
phrase, by Murray T. Titus, "Islam and the Kingdom of God,” in the Mac- 
donald Presentation Volume, Princeton and London, iggg; pp. 391-402 
(article reprinted from Calcutta, 1932). The usage has grown greatly in 
contemporary times. 


39 



ISLAM AND HISTORY 

that actual history had its ups and downs, but enough “ups” to 
corroborate the theory, and enough flexibility to cope with and 
for a time even to negate the “downs.” We noted that the medi- 
aeval period ends, however, in disorder. 

This gives us the background and perspective with which to 
come to our central question: the condition and the dynamics of 
Islam in the modern world. 


40 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


The fundamental malaise of modern Islam is a sense that some- 
thing has gone wrong with Islamic history. The fundamental 
problem of modern Muslims is how to rehabilitate that history: 
to set it going again in full vigour, so that Islamic society may 
once again flourish as a divinely guided society should and must. 
The fundamental spiritual crisis of Islam in the twentieth century 
stems from an awareness that something is awry between the 
religion which God has appointed and the historical development 
of the world which Fie controls. 

It is with the contemporary manifestation of this problem and 
crisis that we are chiefly concerned. Our later chapters are devoted 
to an analysis of the Islamic situation in major areas of the Mus- 
lim world today (in general, since World War II). First, however, 
there is value in glancing quickly at the over-all history of Islam 
in the earlier modern phase, from the decline of the great medi- 
aeval period until yesterday. This can be only the sketchiest of 
outlines.^ Yet it is hoped that it may serve two purposes: first, to 
illustrate the bearing of Islam’s spiritual quality, as we have dis- 
cerned it, on the historical developments that have in fact oc- 
curred; and secondly, to interpret the bearing of these events on 
the contemporary spiritual evolution of Islam. 

Arabia. The Wahhabis 

The first Islamic movements in the modern period were protests 
against the internal deterioration. They would call a halt to 
decadence, summoning Muslim society back to its first purity and 
order. One of the earliest of these, and the most major, still 
reverberatingly influential, was the Wahhabiyah^ in eighteenth- 

1 For the period surveyed in this chapter, cf. the treatment of other writers; 
most notably Gibb and Fazlu-r-Rahman. H. A. R. Gibb, Modern Trends in 
Islam, Chicago, 1947, reprinted 1950; and F. Rahman, “Internal Religious 
Developments in the Present Century Islam," Cahiers d’histoire mondiale/ 
Journal of World History, Paris, s: 862-79. See also G. E. von Grunebaum, 
“Attempts at Self-Interpretation in Contemporary Islam," in his Islam: essays 
in the nature and growth of a cultural tradition, n.p. (also London), 1955, 
pp. 185-236. 

2 For an analytical and critical bibliography of tlie Wahliabi movement. 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

century Arabia. It was puritanical, vigorous, simple. Its message 
was straightforward: a return to classical Islam. 

It rejected the corruption and laxity of the contemporary de- 
cline. It rejected too the accommodations and cultural richness 
of the mediaeval empire. It rejected the introvert warmth and 
other-worldly piety of the mystic way. It rejected also the alien 
intellectualism not only of philosophy but of theology. It rejected 
all dissensions, even the now well-established Shi'ah. It insisted 
solely on the Law. The classical Law, said the Wahhabis, is the 
sum and substance of the faith — and that in its straitest, most 
rigid, Hanbali version, stripped of all innovation developed 
through the intervening centuries. Obey the pristine Law, fully, 
strictly, singly; and establish a society where that Law obtains. 
This, they preached, is Islam; all else is superfluous and wrong. 
Apart from preaching, they set to to establish that society — to bend 
earthly life once more to the classical purposes of God. The 
founder (Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab: 1703-1787) effected an alliance 
with a local ruling prince (Ibn Su'ud: -’765) so that theory 

and practice should go hand in hand. Their interpretation of 
Islam was as a vivid and strict idea, strictly and seriously to be 
implemented. 

By dint of their geographical remoteness in central Arabia, they 
were able, not without difficulty, to abstract themselves from the 
mediaeval environment (Ottoman Empire) from which they were 
by conviction resiling. Presently they were able to hew for them- 
selves in the desert a community that should carry forward the 
divine programme from where the earlier Muslims, succumbing 
to distortions, had left off. Not until the ig3o’s, with the discovery 
of oil on their borders, was the career of their reversionary social 

see the master’s thesis in the library of the Institute of Islamic Studies, 
McGill University, Montreal: Hisham A. Nashshabah, “Islam and National- 
ism in the Arab World: a selected and annotated bibliography,” 1955, pp. y-26. 
To this should be added the original works of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wah- 
hab, published by the Maktabat al-Nahdah al-‘Ilmiyah al-Su*udIyah, Makkah. 

It may legitimately be asked whether the Wahhabiyah is significantly to be 
classed as modern ; whether it is not rather an essentially mediaeval move- 
ment (cf. earlier Ottoman parallels, such as the movement of Birgivi, q.v. 
in Islam Ansiklopedisi, Ankara, 1943)- Our defence for beginning our study 
of the modern period with it is that, whatever the original intention of its 
proponents (who were not aware of modern problems), a large and perhaps 
still growing number of Muslims in the world, confronting those problems, 
turn to the Wahhabiyah for inspiration and even solution. 


42 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

order seriously interrupted: by the intrusion not again of the 
mediaeval world but now of the fully modern. But that sudden 
intrusion has been peripheral, and cautiously guarded; the re- 
sults are not yet. In the meantime the Wahhabis’ example had 
become widely famous, at first for the ferocity of their iconoclasm, 
later for the stringent purity of their faith. Their isolation has 
allowed them to execute their experiment relatively undistracted, 
but has not precluded their influence from becoming both wide- 
spread and strong. From the Holy Cities came provocative reports 
of a lean and stark Islam once again being seriously and exactly 
lived. 

These reports were the more stimulating in that the Wahhabi 
proclamation was strongly transcendentalist. Their condemnation 
of the present was narrow yet profound; essentially, the criterion 
was not past history but graphic moral apprehension. Their 
rejections were vehement. Yet their movement was not purely 
negative; the positive kernel of their faith was mighty and com- 
pelling. 

Theirs was not a pure idealism in the Western sense: devotion to 
a transcendent concept, of which all human implementations are 
necessarily partial and inadequate. This is too Platonic, too Chris- 
tian. The Wahhabi reform named as authoritative, as the source of 
inspiration, not just the Qur’an, but the Qur’an and pure sunnah. 
We would interpret this as signifying in part that they were advo- 
cating allegiance not to the Qur’an as pure idea but to the Qur'an 
as implemented; yet as implemented originally, correctly — as 
Westerners might say, ideally. The interpretation of Islam against 
which they were fighting was that which had become dominant, 
that Islam is the purposes of God for mankind as expressed in the 
Qur’an and as at work in the on-going community. As we have 
tried to stress throughout, Islam for Muslims is not an abstract 
idea but an idea in operative practice. The Wahhabis rejected the 
actual practice, but not the conception that Islam is a practice, is 
essentially a divine pattern in this-worldly, historical motion. 
Their message was a way of proclaiming that what is ultimately 
right and imperative is not the actual embodiment of Islam in 
history but the ideal embodiment. 

We have said that they summoned to the Law. Their own inter- 
pretation of this was rigid and narrow. Yet it might be more 
precise to say that their summons was to obedience — to God, in 


43 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

His overwhelming majesty and power; and to a society that would 
embody His decrees. Their shift from the existent to the essential, 
from the actual to the ideal, from what the Muslims had made of 
Islam to what they ought to make of it, was and has remained 
cogent and vitalizing, even liberating. The waves of their expand- 
ing influence have extended far beyond the domain of their 
immediate community and practical power. And while there have 
been fundamentalist conservatives among those inspired by their 
orientation, others crying “Back to the Qur’an!” and “Back to 
the Sunnah!” have meant, “Back to the God of the Qur’an and 
His commands; back to the spirit of the Sunnah and its exhila- 
ration.” 

To many Muslims committed to their faith yet perplexed by 
the inadequacy of their community and its history in the modern 
world, eager to act yet uncertain what to do, the enthusiastic voice 
of the Wahhabis has proven penetrating and powerful. And al- 
though an actual embodiment of their programme has proven 
feasible only in the desert, there has been a wide appeal in the 
spirit of their fervently rejecting the immediate past and of start- 
ing all over again to work out the practice of Islam from scratch. 
Like the Wahhabis, other men have thought to renounce the 
Muslims’ current history, and to construct again in this world 
the kind of history that original Islam taught and inspired. 

India. Waliyullah 

Other purificaiionist movements rejected the degeneration of 
post-classical Islam but not so indiscriminately its achievements. 
The chief instance is the movement in India stemming from the 
reformer Shah Waliyullah of Delhi (1703-1781).^ He grew up 
watching the Mughul empire crumble. Unlike Ibn ‘Abd al- 
Wahhab, therefore, he thought and worked from within one of 

3 For a bibliography of this important but inadequately studied figure, 
see the master’s thesis in the library of the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill 
University: Mu‘inu-d-Din Ahmad Khan, "A Bibliographical Introduction to 
Modern Islamic Developments in India and Pakistan.” 1955; pp. 13-50. For a 
list of 28 of his own writings, with a description of each, see the introduction 
by Mawlana ‘Abdu-r-Rahman to his Urdu translation of Shah Waliyullah’s 
gi-eatest work, HiijjatuUdh al-Bdlighah, Lahore, 2 voll., 1953, I; 76-83. (This 
list docs not include the letters recently discovered and edited that are noted 
at ref. 6 just below.) Waliyullah was a contemporary of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, 
and studied in Makkah; but there seems no evidence of any mutual infl^uence. 


44 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

the passing mediaeval empires, rather than outside. He would 
refashion and revive rather than reject. 

Waliyullah’s vision of a purified Islam retained a marked Sufi 
colouring. He repudiated the degeneration of the corrupted Sufi 
practice of his time, and the aberration of extreme Sufi views. 
He attacked the latitudinarian nonchalance that religiously toler- 
ated a decadent society. Yet he was a Sufi.'‘ His significance as a 
thinker is not least in his striving to postulate an interpretation 
of Islam that would coalesce a purified Sufism with a purified 
Sunnah. His Islam is therefore more comprehensive and richer 
than the Wahhabi; also more flexible. He would, for instance, 
embrace and enliven' all the schools of law in his new amalgam. 
That is, he accepted more Islamic development. He was more 
mediaeval than classical. 

Yet he insisted no less that the true Muslim must not accept 
the contemporary decline. His political ambition was to restore 
Muslim power in India more or less on the Mughul pattern.® Pure 
Islam must be reenacted, a regenerated Muslim society must again 
be mighty. 

It was the next century before some of his reform ideas were 
organized into socio-political movements, in the time and to some 
extent under the leadership of his son ‘Abdu-l-‘Aziz (1746-1824) 
and his grandson Isma'il (1781-1831). By this time the decline of 
Indo-Muslim society had gone still further, conspicuously in 
political power, where the weakness was of course attracting 
aggressive outside powers. Specifically, in northwest India an 
expansive and vigorous Sikh regime had supplanted what was left 
of the decadent Mughul one. In Bengal the British were becoming 

* He succeeded his fadier as local leader of the Naqshbandi Order, 1719. 
In addition to this practice, his expounding of Sufi theory is evident in much 
of his writing; perhaps especially Ham'at, of which the original Persian is 
not available to the present writer and was not to 'Abdu-r-Rahman (cf. pre- 
ceding note), but the following Urdu translation has appeared: Muhammad 
Sarwar (trans.), Tasawwuf kl Haqiqat awr us kd Falsafah’-i Tdrtkh, Lahore, 
1946. 

' For his positive attitude to ijlihdd, see his ‘Iqd al-jid fl Ahkdm al-Ijtihdd 
wa al-Taqlld, (the ed. available to the present writer is Delhi, 1344 [1925-26]). 
For an English translation, cf. M. D. Rahbar, "Shah Wall Ullah and Ijtihad,” 
The Muslim World, Hartford, 44: 346-58 (1955). 

® See Khaliq Ahmad Nizami, ed., Shdh Waliyulldh he Siydsl Maktubdt, 
Aligarh [1951]. On these letters, see the same writer’s “Shah Waliullah 
Dihlavi and Indian Politics in the 18th Century," Islamic Culture, Hyderabad, 

25: 133-45 (1951)- 


45 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

solidly established. In western India there was a revival of Hindu 
power. 

Accordingly one finds this movement for Islamic regeneration 
expressing itself in two directions: against internal decay, and 
against external threat or domination. Some of those inspired by 
the new emphasis on a revived and purified Islam wrote and 
wrought against the abuses in Muslim society. Others preached 
and fought against its new infidel rulers. This latter aspect came 
to coordinated and vigorous life particularly under the militant 
and able Sayyid Ahmad Barelawi (1782-1831).'^ Many Muslims 
answered his call to rise against the Sikhs in the Panjab, and to 
reimpose an “Islamic,” or anyway Muslim, rule on themselves 
(and others) in these parts. The campaign was well organized and 
some of the battles were successful; Sayyid Ahmad was proclaimed 
khalifah (“caliph”) in Peshawar for a time (1830-31). The even- 
tual failure of these martial exploits gained the renown of 
“martyr” for the leaders and for a good while the movement per- 
sisted in underground endeavour to recreate Muslim ascendancy. 
One may compare the Fara’iziyah® of Bengal, also in the early 
part of the century. There was later some connection perhaps also 
with the 1857 Mutiny, the last great upheaval in the struggle to 
reinstate the old Muslim dominance. 

Even more lasting and more widespread was the persistence of 
the movement’s impetus and ideal. The attempts to oust the 
infidel could be, and were, suppressed. The attempts to refine and 
renew Muslim society and to restore its glory must continue, and 
incidentally keep it reminded of its more proper destiny on both 
scores. The dream of revived Indo-Muslim power remained into 
the twentieth century, to haunt or incite the community.” 

■^See Ghulam Rasul Mihr, Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, ya'nt Mujdhid-i Kablr 
Ha:Lrat Sayyid Ahmad Barelawi ke mufassal sawdnih-i haydt awr un ki 
tahrlk-i ihyd‘-i din kl mukammal sar-guzasht, Lahore, 2 voll., n.d. [1953-54], 
an impressive work which seems to mark a new stage in Urdu historiography! 

8 See the article M. Hidayet Hosain, FARl’idI[YA] in The Encyclopaedia of 
Islam, Leiden, 1913 (slightly revised in the Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, 
Leiden, 1953)' This Roup’s activity seems to have been devoted chiefly to 
defending Islamic society (or the empirical Muslim community) against out- 
siders. The counterpart, the society’s peaceful internal reform from corrup- 
tion, was carried out in Bihar and Bengal chiefly by a development of the 
Waliyullah-Barelawi movement, led by Karamat ‘AH (q.v. in Shorter Encyclo- 
paedia of Islam, article by A. Yusuf Ali). 

”An example is the celebration in Lahore, 1941, of a "Shah Isma'il Shahid 
Day,” organized by the All-Punjab Muslim Students’ Federation. See 'Ab- 

^6 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

Although the leaders for a time looked elsewhere, the masses 
retained the ideal of rebuilding a great and a truly Islamic society 
in India. 

This double orientation has introduced us to the second great 
motif of modern Islam. To the protest against internal deteriora- 
tion was linked the protest against external encroachment. How- 
ever local these nineteenth-century Indian movements might be 
in the details of their particular development, in this they were 
typical of the whole Muslim world, recognizing and trying to 
reject corrosion within and aggression without. The latter has 
remained through a hundred and fifty years a dominating threat 
to Islamic society: pressing on different areas with differing force, 
in varying forms, but in its essence constant. Almost every Islamic 
movement, in almost every part of the Muslim world, throughout 
that period has been in some way a variation on this double theme. 

In this early modern period Turkey was not an exception. The 
Turks were beginning to evolve also other trends, which in the 
end made their handling of the problem quite distinctive. Yet 
there were among them as well at this time, and indeed from the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, major developments inquir- 
ing how to arrest the un-Islamic decadence of their society, and 
how to resist the infidel encroachment on their domain. From 
Ibrahim Muteferrika (1674-1745) to Namik Kemal (1840-1888) 
there have been representatives of the movement to proclaim that 
a true Islam demands a restored glory for the empire.^® 

Afghani 

These two tendencies — internal reform, external defence — are 
typified and fused in a person whose outstanding figure is central 
to the nineteenth-century Muslim world, Jamalu-d-Din Afghani 
(1839-97).^^ In him are to be seen also other facets of the develop- 

dullah Bat, ed., Maqdldt-i Yawm-i Shah Ismd'll Shahid, Lahore, 1943; and 
Abdullah Butt, Aspects of Shah Ismail Shaheed; essays on his literary, political 
and religious activities, Lahore, 1943. 

ro Cf. ref. 38 below. 

ir An adequate study of Afghani is still awaited. For a partial bibliography, 
dealing with Arabic and Western sources, see the Nashshabah thesis noted at 
ref. 2 above. For a study with particular regard to his work in India, and 
with supplementary bibliographical reference to the otherwise little exploited 
Urdu sources, see the further thesis in the library of the Institute of Islamic 
Studies, McGill University: Sharif al-Mujahid, “Sayyid Jamal al-Din al- 
Afghani: His Role in the Nineteenth Century Muslim Awakening,” 1954. 
This latter is to be published presently in Karachi. 


47 




ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

ing situation, for he both represents the new trends and carried 
them vigorously forward. Since he was reputed also for his classical 
Islamic learning, he may be said to represent the traditional Islam 
as well. In fact he is supremely comprehensive, the complete 
Muslim of his time. 

Geographically, his career encompassed Iran, India, the Arab 
World, and Turkey, as well as the European West. He was both 
Sufi and Sunni. He preached a reconciliation with the Shi'ah. He 
united with traditional Islamic scholarship a familiarity with 
Europe and an acquaintance with its modern thought. And as we 
have said, he was himself active in both internal reform and 
external defence. He inspired political revolutionaries and vener- 
able scholars. He advocated both local nationalisms and pan-Islam. 
A very great deal of subsequent Islamic development is adum- 
brated in his personality and career. In fact, there is very little in 
twentieth-century Islam not foreshadowed in Afghani. 

Yet his contribution was not as a thinker, either creative or 
systematizing; nor even on the practical side, as an organizer and 
planner. It was not what he introduced into the development of 
the Islamic world that gives him significance, so much as what he 
brought into focus — focus so sharp that it was able to ignite. He 
is important because he summed up in himself so wide a sweep of 
the contemporary Muslim world in difficulties, and then reacted 
against those difficulties with a prodigious energy. He was embrac- 
ingly catholic: in his concern for the community’s new problems, 
impinging impartially on its various elements, he transcended its 
traditional divisions and would turn attention from them. He 
was the firebrand agitator; taking deeply to heart the then condi- 
tion of Islam, he sensed with a passionate poignancy the plight 
of his fellow Muslims, and in his rebounding zest stimulated them 
to a keen consciousness of their situation and to a determination 
to redress it. 

The previous movements on which we have touched, except 
in Turkey, had assessed the internal decline of Muslim society 
only on a criterion of classical Islamic prescriptions, and had 
opposed its non-Muslim rulers or enemies only in immediate and 
local terms, more or less ad hoc. In Afghani both problems came 
to a more sophisticated self-consciousness. By this time the internal 
inadequacies were more pronounced, and the inner penetration 
and outer pressure of Europe had both proceeded much further. 

48 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

It was his genius to see the situation in comprehensive terms and 
in perspective. He realized that the entire Islamic world, not just 
this or that part of it, was threatened; and by the West as a power- 
ful, dynamic entity. He saw that in comparison with that entity — 
that is, on a European criterion — the entire Islamic world was 
weak. He realized that in a sense that world was threatened by its 
own weakness. The earlier reformers had preached that the Mus- 
lims’ social condition was wrong. Afghani insisted that it was 
feeble. 

We cannot follow the detail, but must give due weight to the 
substance of the quite considerable direct political agitation 
against European imperialism, particularly British, to which Af- 
ghani devoted himself in London, Paris, and at home. It was 
zealous and telling. Moreover he seems to have been the first 
Muslim revivalist to use the concepts “Islam” and “the West” as 
connoting correlative — and of course antagonistic — historical phe- 
nomena. This antinomy, as is well known, has since become quite 
standard in virtually all Islamic thinking. It would be fruitful and 
revealing to explore the growth in the Muslim consciousness 
(outside Turkey) of the spectre of the West as an accusing, men- 
acing power. It was in Afghani that this became explicit; and that 
the response to it became active. 

Also beyond the scope of our study are the details of the direct 
activities and intrigues with which Afghani took part in internal 
Islamic political affairs, particularly Irani. We may incidentally 
note his connection with and almost instigation of the Tobacco 
Monopoly affair in Iran, beginning in 1891, when the traditional 
Shi'i religious leaders were inspired to lead the mass of the people 
in an effective and striking protest — against the Shah’s further 
weakening of Muslim society by handing over more of the nation’s 
resources to the “enemies of Islam,” European financial inter- 
ests. Afghani was also involved in the activities that led to the 
assassination of the Shah in 1896. Moreover, he was not without 
influence in the Egyptian uprising against internal misrule, under 
‘Arabi in 1882. In other Muslim areas also, often less directly, his 
vigour stirred discontent into active reform. 

Of great significance, further, for the development that we are 
trying to trace, is the first conspicuous appearance in Afghani of 
another developing aspect of modern Islamic consciousness: an 
explicit nostalgia for the departed earthly glory of pristine Islam. 


49 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

With his ebullient rhetoric and tireless repetition, Afghani fired 
audiences in one Muslim country after another to a reawakened 
consciousness of how they had once been mighty, but now were 
weak. That memory was not far below the surface, but it was 
below and was generally without delineation, a feeling rather 
than a picture of past greatness. His vivid evocations elicited a 
spirited response that has since ramified. Indeed, in addition to 
internal reform and external defence, this recalling of erstwhile 
Muslim grandeur has become a third dominant trait of modern 
Islam. It has been vastly developed, as we shall return to consider. 

There are further elements to be noted in Afghani’s position, 
typifying aspects of the evolving situation that subsequently 
developed importantly. We have already noted his encouraging 
of local nationalisms — Irani, Arab, Indian, etc — and also of pan- 
Islamic sentiment. 

Further, Afghani exhibited a partial appreciation of intellec- 
tualism and of Western values and particularly Western science 
and techniques. He saw the West as something primarily to be 
resisted, because it threatened Islam and the community, but 
secondly, in part to be imitated. He was vigorous in inciting his 
Muslim hearers to develop reason and technology as the West was 
doing, in order to be strong. 

Another salient and effective element was his ardent insistence 
that the resurgence of Islam on earth was the responsibility of the 
Muslims themselves. They must be up and doing; their future 
would be great if they made it so. He incited them to discard 
resignation, or wonderment, in favour of plunging excitedly into 
the exuberant task of themselves creating the kind of Islamic 
world that ought to be. The Qur’an verse “Verily, God does not 
change the condition of a people until they change their own 
condition” (13:11), which had for some centuries lain unempha- 
sized if not almost dormant, he singled out for enthusiastic emjDloy. 
On this text he built many a sermon, in a fashion that has since 
come widely to prevail. The citing of this verse in particular, and 
the general resolve of Muslims to take into their own hands the 
refurbishing of their community’s earthly history, are today stand- 
ard. Indeed, no Muslim transformation of the past hundred years 
is more striking than that from the quiescent passivity that led 
nineteenth-century observers to speak of the Islamic world (and 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

even of Islam) as static and fatalist if not moribund, to the exu- 
berant ferment of the present day. 

Indeed, this urging to action, the transition from a non-respon- 
sible quietude to a self-directing determination, was carried 
further; into an almost irresponsible or effervescent dynamism. 
Afghani himself had no clear programme, no ordered philosophy. 
But he did have abounding energy and the knack of inspiring 
others to busy enthusiasm. The vitalistic activism that character- 
ized him has been a marked quality of Islamic development since. 
It was given more or less explicit formulation by the poet IqbaP^ 
and practical embodiment in numerous movements (the Ikhwan 
in the Arab world, the Khaksar in India, the Kashani in Iran, the 
Daru-l-Islam in Indonesia, for instance; we shall return to this 
poind'*). In fact, it has coloured a very great deal of modern Islam, 
whose renascence has been more ebullient than thoughtful, and 
indeed has been aimed more at recapturing the vitality than at 
redefining the content or even the methods of faith. 

As we have said, Afghani is important for typifying and vitaliz- 
ing these several trends. It is the trends themselves that demand 
attention; their development by other men and groups through 
the subsequent decades has almost constituted the recent story of 
the faith. Particularly, he is illustrative as a man passionately con- 
cerned to defend and to reactivate the mundane aspect of Islam. 
It was his vision and his determination (as it has become the 
aspiration providing the clue to most subsequent Muslim ‘mod- 
ernism’) that Islamic history shall once again march forward in 
full truth and full splendour. 

Later Developments 

The later development of those trends, of that defence and that 
reactivation, was vigorous and widespread. Much of it was directly 
or indirectly related to the Wahhabis, Waliyullah, or Afghani. 
Some was more or less parallel and independent. All, of course, 
was complex. It would be false to oversimplify recent Islamic 

12 Shaykh Sir Muhammad Iqbal, 1876-1938. For literature, see Abdul Ghani 
and Kliwaja Nur Ilahi, Bibliography of Iqbal, Lahore, n.d. [sc. 1954?]. 

13 In our concluding section “Dynamism” below, pp. 89-91. For the 
Ikhwan, see our next chapter, below, pp. 156-60 with ref. 196: for the 
Khaksars, see the present writer’s Modern Islam in India, Lahore, 1943, pp. 
270-83 and bibliography; London, “1946” [sc. 1947], pp. 235-45. 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


moves, constraining them into too neat a common pattern. At the 
same time it is misleading to omit from the particularities of each 
the generalized Islamic form and impulse which relate them to the 
still living past and to each other. 

Of overt expressions in active group endeavor, one might men- 
tion the Sanusi movement in Libya (beginning in 1842);^'^ the 
Mahdi movement in the Sudan (from i88i);“ the Irani move- 
ments of the iSgo’s already referred to, and Constitutionalism 
(culminating 1906);^® the Sarekat Islam and the Muharamadiyah 
in Indonesia (from 1911);^^ and so on. Each local manifestation 
has had its own immediate causes, in the economic, political, and 
other factors of the particular area. Each inevitably fits into the 
local history and may be so studied. Yet each also fits into a total 
pattern such as we have already discerned — as aspiration towards 

U' The two basic works on this movement are E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The 
Sanusi of Cyrenaica, Oxford, 1949: and Mufiammad Fu’ad Shukri, Al- 
Sanusiyah Din wa Dawlah, Cairo, 1948. For full bibliography, see these works, 
and more especially the Nashshabah thesis (cf. above, ref. g), pp. 27-43. 

In English the most recent work is A. B. Theobald, The Mahdlya; a 
history of the Anglo-Egyplian Sudan, i88i-i8pp, London, 1951, with bibliog- 
raphy. To it should be added tlte relevant parts, brief but careful, in Mekki 
Shibeika, British Policy in the Sudan i882-ip02, London and New York, 
1952; and a forthcoming study by P. M. Holt, London. In Arabic, Tawfiq 
Afimad al-BakrI, Muliammad Ahrnad al-Mahdi, in the series A'ldm al-Islam, 
Cairo, 1944, with bibliography; add the relevant parts of Sa'd Muhammad 
Hasan, al-Mahdlyah ft al-Isldm, Cairo, 1373/1953, and the important docu- 
mentation, Husayn Mu’nis (ed.), Walhd'iq 'an Mahdi al-Sudan, Cairo, 1953. 

The basic foreign work here is E. G. Browne, The Persian Revolution of 
ipop-ipop, Cambridge, 1910; for further outside observations cf. L. P. Elwell- 
Sutton, A Guide to Iranian Area Study, Ann Arbor, 1952, esp. p. 52. In 
Persian, see Mahdi Malikzadah, Tdrlkh-i Inqildb-i Mashrullyat-i Iran, Tihran, 
6 volL, 1328-1332 [1949-53]: [Ahmad] Kasravi Tabriz!, Tdrikh Mashrufah’-i 
Irdn, Tihran, 3rd ed., 1330 [1951]; and Maliku-s-Shu‘ara’ Bahar, Tdrlkh-i 
Muhhtasar-i Ah^db-i Siydsl; jild-i awwal: Inqirdpi Qdjdrlyah, Tihran, 1321 

[1942]- 

w For bibliography, see the compilation, Hedwig Schlieffer, “Islam in Indo- 
nesia,” section VI of “Selective Bibliography on the Economic and Political 
Development of Indonesia” (mimeographed), Cambridge, Mass., Center for 
International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1955; s.w. in 
index, and generally. To be added to this list are the following more recent 
items: Harry J. Benda, “Indonesian Islam under the Japanese Occupation, 
1942-45-'’ Pacific Affairs, 28: 350-62 (1955); and G. W. J. Drewes. “Indonesia: 
mysticism and activism,” in Gustave E. von Grunebaum, ed.. Unity and 
Variety in Muslim Civilization, Chicago, 1955, pp. 284-307 (cf. further pp. 
307-10). 

52 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

a refiorescence, and more particularly as aspects of the vast protest 
against internal decline and external encroachment. 

The Indian Khilafat movement also (1918-1924)/® whose form 
has puzzled outsiders, testifies to the degree of emotional tension 
with which Muslims have sensed the earthly disintegration of 
traditional Islamic power, and responded to its symbolization. It 
illustrates further the willingness to struggle for a restoration, 
even without any clear programme. An incident such as the 1948 
Hyderabad fiasco in India, moreover, is illuminated also when 
understood in terms of such a pattern. Here again is the fierce 
endeavour to resist, psychologically and practically, the further 
disintegration of Islam’s seemingly evanescent earthly greatness.^ 

These are political, organizational, or mass movements. Artistic 
and imaginative expression also has been given to the modern 
Muslim’s mood. We noted Afghani evoking in his rhetoric that 
historical nostalgia, the dream of ancient glory. This trait has been 
much developed throughout the Muslim world since. In India the 

18 A survey of previously published literature on this movement, and also 
perhaps the only study that takes into account the subsequent and manifestly 
related emergence of Pakistan, are to be found in a master’s thesis in the 
library of the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal: W. J. 
Watson, "Mufiammad ‘All and the Khilafat Movement,” 1955. This may be 
published presently in Karachi. Cf. also the following note. 

18 See "Hyderabad: Muslim Tragedy” by the present writer, in The Middle 
East Journal, Washington, 4: 27-51 (Jan. 1950). The study of this particular 
incident, written up in that article, was one, but only one, step whereby we 
gradually came to the general interpretation and analysis of Islam’s con- 
temporary development that are presented in this book. The article does not, 
accordingly, set the Hyderabad situation in so wide a context as is here sug- 
gested. Particularly, toward the end of the article we indicated our then 
failure fully to understand the religious quality of the sense of loss of worldly 
power. This understanding now seems possible in the light of the thesis 
advanced in Chapter 1 of this book. 

Of the Indian Khilafat movement, just above, our much earlier study 
(Modern Islam in India, Lahore, 1943, London, “1946” [sc. 1947]; s.v. in 
index) is one example (cf. previous paragraph in the text just above) of a 
study concerned with the “. . . immediate causes, . . . the economic, political, 
and other factors of the particular area” and “the local history.” This is 
legitimate, but does not go far enough; the substance was explained, but “the 
form puzzled” this particular outsider. We admitted in our then delineation 
that the ideological structure of the movement seemed unrelated to the im- 
mediate issues at hand. It is hoped that the analysis here presented, alongside 
of the factors there studied, combine to make the movement intelligible. Cf. 
similarly on the later but comparable Pakistan movement, below, chap. 5, 
ref. 5. 


53 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


most eloquent instance is the superbly moving lament of the poet 
Hali: his Musaddas (1886),““ brilliantly recalling vanished Islamic 
grandeur, and penetrating deeply into the whole community’s 
heart. Later examples are Iqbal’s superlatively significant Shik- 
wah (“Complaint”) (1912):“^ his Masjid-i Qurtuhah (“The 
Mosque of Cordoba”) (1935)^“® and the like. In prose, Amir ‘Ali’s 
substantial Short History of the Saracens (1899),^“ though written 
as much for Western apologetic as for internal edification, is illus- 
trative. In the Arab world, Jurji Zaydan’s History of Islamic 
Civilization (1902-06) might almost be instanced.^^ Certainly 
Shakib Arslan’s Why have the Muslims become Backward? (1930)^“ 
may serve as an example. This stirring essay was elicited by an 
Indonesian inquiry, which (as Afghani had done) quoted the 
Qur’an verse “Power belongs to God, and to His Apostle, and to 
The Believers” (63:8), and asked where, today, had this last power 
gone. These are outstanding instances, each of them reprinted 
repeatedly, translated, and still today widely read and widely 

^°Madd-o Jazr-i Islam (“The Flow and Ebb of Islam”), popularly known 
as Musaddas-i Halt. It was published first in Delhi. 

21 The poem is in the collection Bang-i Dard (1924). In the edition avail- 
able to us, the 12 th, Lahore, 1948, it is pp. 177-87. There is an English trans- 
lation in Altaf Husain, trans,. The Complaint and the Answer, Lahore, 1943. 

22 In the collection Bdl-i Jibrll (1935): 7th ed., Lahore, 1947, pp. 126-36. 
English version in V. G. Kiernan, trans.. Poems from Iqbal, Bombay, 1947, 
pp. 68-71; London, 1955, pp. 37-42. 

28 This was published originally in London; there was a New York ed. 
the following year. The work is still in print; the 4th ed., 1924, is currently 
in its 5th impression, 1951. 

2* Ta’rlkh al-Tamaddun al-Isldmi, 5 vols., Cairo. We say “almost" because 
the author (Jurji or Jirji Zaydan, 1861-1914) was Christian; though the wide 
success of his work was due in great part, of course, to its Muslim readership, 
The complex involvement of Arab Islam in Arabism, in which Christian 
Arabs are then also involved, is illustrated here. Compare chap. 3 below, 
especially ref. 2. 

28 A 1 -Amir Shakib Arslan, Li-mddhd ta’akhkhar al-Muslimun wa li-mddhd 
taqaddam ghayruhum?, Cairo, 1349 [1930-31]. This work appeared first as a 
series of articles in the Cairo journal al-Mandr; and subsequently in book 
form in Arabic and other languages. It is interesting that the English version 
published in India (1944; itself reprinted in Pakistan, 1952), was translated 
from the Malayalam, which version, first in newspaper serial and later re- 
printed as a book, “sent a wave of national fervour and kindled Islamic fire 
in the hearts of the Mopplahs” (translator’s preface to the English edition, 
Lahore, 1944: Amir Shakib Arsalan, Our Decline and its Causes; a diagnosis 
of the symptoms of the downfall of Muslims, translated by M. A. Shakoor, 
p. x). 


^4 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

effective. The trend has come to expression also in hundreds of 
lesser books and thousands of poems, articles, and speeches. 

It would be too ambitious to attempt here to trace further, 
however briefly, the story of these Islamic developments area by 
area or instance by instance.®” When that full story comes to be 
written, it will be possible to revise and amplify the observations 
that, rather, are here essayed. These relate to some of the chief 
over-all trends that have appeared. For our understanding of the 
contemporary situation, to which we shall turn in subsequent 
chapters, it will be instructive if we can clarify as background the 
further principal elements that were introduced or evolved in the 
next stage of development. The two major matters here are 
liberalism and nationalism. These deserve relatively extended 
examination, partly because of the degree of their impingement 
on the historical evolution of recent Islam, partly because of their 
proneness to being misunderstood through false Western parallels. 
More recently elaborated phenomena, particularly apologetics and 
dynamism, we shall treat but briefly, leaving more detailed con- 
sideration for illustration and study in one or other of the present- 
day portrayals. 

Liberalism 

A trend flourished in the next phase of Islamic evolution, about 
the turn of the present century, that we may, perhaps not ineptly, 
designate Islamic liberalism. 

There are two major elements from within the past Islamic 
tradition from which a contribution to liberalism could be drawn: 
philosophy and Sufism. The intellectualism of the former and the 
humanism of the latter could provide important bases for reinter- 
pretation. This was precisely the reason, of course, for which the 
conservatives had throughout distrusted them — and still distrust 
them today. The resurgence of classical Islam involves, in fact, a 
newly invigorated repudiation of these two liberating forces. We 
have already noted that the modern period in Islamic history 
begins with such a resurgence. 

Mysticism was repudiated by the Wahhabi movement, and this 

20 The Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, is planning to pre- 
pare over the next five or ten years monograph volumes on at least some of 
the areas: modern Islam in Turkey (cf. below, ref. 38); modern Islam in 
Indonesia; etc. 


55 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

rejection has been markedly influential in the Arab world.^^ 
Nevertheless, the founder, Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, was himself a Sufi 
in his thirties^® That is, he — despite his movement — is no excep- 
tion to the generalization that every major Islamic reformer of 
the modern age shows deep Sufi influence. Other instances are 
Afghani, ‘Abduh,^" G6kalp,=® Iqbal. In a world in which the 
extant Law as a formal system could seem a somewhat obsolescent 
method of bringing persons vividly face to face with the divine, 
some might argue that Sufism provides an inescapable factor in 
any refreshened version of the faith. (However, it is also strikingly 
true that the very flexibility of Sufism has meant that in the post- 
mediaeval decline its institutional degeneration has been out- 
standing, far outstripping that of other aspects of Muslim society. 
Sufism itself has sorely needed purgation.) 

Rationalism was repudiated by both the Wahhabi movement 
and the Waliyullahi. Indeed, this has been seen as a major explana- 
tion for the persistent weakness of the intellectual side of modern 

For a modern instance of the rejection of Sufism on the grounds that it 
weakens the toughness of Islam under attack, see the almost rabid work of 
‘Umar Farrukh, al-Tasawwuf ft al-hlam, Beirut, 1366/1947. 

28 Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab "went to Isfahan at the commencement of Nadir 
Shah’s reign (1148/1736); here he is said to have studied for a period of four 
years peripatetic philosophy, the I^rd^lya and the §ufi systems; for a year 
he attracted students as an exponent of §ufism, then went to IJ.umm, after 
which he became an advocate of Ibn Hanbal’s school." — Shorter Encyclo- 
paedia of Islam, Leiden, 1953, s.v. waiihAbIya, reprint of an article by D. S. 
Margoliouth. 

28 On Muhammad ‘Abduh (i84g?-igo5) the standard works are Rashid 
Rida, Ta’rlkh al-Ustadh al-Imdm, 3 vols., Cairo, i326-50/[i9o8]-i93i; and 
Charles C. Adams, Islam and Modernism in Egypt, London, 1933. See the 
article muhammad ‘abduh by J. Schacht in Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, 
Leiden, 1953; to the bibliography there given add the following: (1) Osman 
Amin, Muhammad ‘Abduh, essai sur ses iddes philosophiques et religieuses, 
Cairo, 1944 (this work is appreciably fuller than the Arabic pamphlet in the 
series ‘‘A'lara al-Islam,” ‘Uthman Amin, Muhammad 'Abduh, Cairo, 1944, 
which was translated into English as Osman Amin, Muhammad ‘Abduh, 
Washington, 1953); and (z) Muhammed El-Bahay, Muliammed ‘Abduh, Eine 
Untersuchung seiner Erziehungsmelhode zum Nationalbewusstsein und zur 
nalionalen Erhebung in Agypten, Hamburg, 1936. On ‘Abduh’s early Sufism 
see Adams, op. cit., pp. zsff. 

88 00 Ziya Giikalp (1875-1924), sec Uriel Heyd, The Foundations of 
Turkish Nationalism, London, 1950; and Niyazi Berkes, "Ziya Gokalp: his 
contribution to Turkish nationalism,” The Middle East Journal, Washington, 
8 : 375‘9° (1954)- All edition in English of his collected writings is to be pub- 
lished shortly by the latter. On his Sufism, cf. Hcyd, pp. 23, 26, 83. 

5 ^ 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

Islam.®^ As a matter of fact, the repudiation goes further back, and 
deeper. If mysticism was never quite fully acceptable to the reli- 
gious leaders, intellectualism was not acceptable at all. Some Mus- 
lims have seen the introduction of Greek thought into the Islamic 
world as a greater threat to the religion than the Crusades or the 
Mongol invasions. Even theology was suspect. As we have previ- 
ously argued, the Islamic counterpart to the Christian theologian 
has been the legist: the Muslim’s supreme duty has been less to 
know the truth than to do the right. Further, whereas mysticism, 
as we have seen, even if unstandard, in the pre-modern period 
became popular, philosophy was even in its Arab heyday the pre- 
serve of but an ^lite handful. Nonetheless, the tradition thinly 
endured. In the very recent past, rationalism has again seemed 
feeble, overwhelmed in the contemporary revival of conservative 
Islam. But around the turn of the century there was a brief 
flowering, which has left its mark — and which, some hope, may 
yet again come into its own. 

A third factor in Islamic liberalism was the penetration of the 
West. From the late nineteenth century to the First World War, 
European liberalism was at its height. So also was European 
ascendancy. Many Muslims went to the West and came to know, 
even in part to admire, its spirit and values. This was true espe- 
cially of some of those students who in increasing numbers were 
seeking training in its universities. Much of the West came to the 
Muslim world — again, not least its educational institutions, rear- 
ing indigenously a generation deeply exposed to Western moder- 
nity. Many new ideas, and at least equally important the subtle 
presuppositions of ideas, and new evaluations, new orientations, 
were inculcated in these formally educational ways. In addition, 
there was increasing penetration of other Western and modern 
institutions: legal, political, social, and many others. To some 
extent these were imposed, to some extent sought after. Some 
Muslims resisted, some welcomed them, or were brought up to or 
gradually came to welcome them; eventually many came to take 
them for granted. The process has continued apace. 

We have seen that the West was first seen as essentially an ex- 
ternal threat to Muslim society. The newer penetration, this 
internal ‘Westernizing’ of the Islamic community, could be re- 
garded as a subtler and more dangerous version of the same threat: 

See F. Rahman, op. cit. p. 864. 


57 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

a ‘fifth column’ disruption from within. Its potential devastation 
to Islamic history and society could understandably alarm those 
who conceived these as the implementation and embodiment of 
the classically known divine precepts. We shall presently see that 
this attitude to Westernization has in recent decades reasserted 
itself into prominence. At the moment our concern is to note that 
for a time a different attitude found expression alongside the 
other: one that welcomed Western liberalism in fact if not in 
name, and sought to incorporate it into or harmonize it with Islam. 

In many instances the harmonizing was permissive rather than 
creative. It allowed a person to be both a Muslim and a Western- 
ized liberal without conflict; but also without generating a new 
synthesis that might incite to constructive new dreams and new 
adventures. This is true also of the more indigenous movements 
that would re-erabrace for Islam the rationalist strand in the his- 
torical tradition. These would prove revealed Islam and reason 
compatible, a proof the need for which had not been felt so press- 
ing for some centuries. Yet they hardly expected reason to gen- 
erate new religious truth; nor looked upon it as in essence divine. 
Nonetheless some serious and original work was done, of con- 
structive value not yet exhausted. 

Liberalism — and we are using the term here in a deliberately 
broad sense — is inherently not an established system nor of fixed 
content or even intention. Islamic liberalism too has evinced many 
forms, taking on, as it should, the individual quality of various 
persons who have given expression to it, have accepted its loyalties. 

Agus Salim (1884-1955) and others in Indonesia; Sir Sayyid 
Ahmad Khan (1817-98) and the ‘Aligarh movement in India, and 
such a notable modernist as Amir ‘Ali (1849-1928) on the one 
hand, and such theologians as Shibli (1857-1914) and Abu-l-Kalam 
Azad (1888- ) on the other; Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh 

(1849-1905) in the Arab world, followed by such a rationalist as 
Talia Husayn (1891- ); Sangulaji (1890-1945) and others in 

Iran;"^" Shinasi (1824-1871), Namik Kemal (1840-1888), Abdulhak 
Hamid (1851-1937), Tevfik Fikret (1870-1915), among many 

22 See the master’s thesis in the library of the Institute of Islamic Studies, 
McGill University. Montreal; Amir Abbas Haydari "Some Aspects of Islam 
in Modern Iran, with special reference to the work of Sangalaji and Rashid,” 
1954 - 


5S 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

Others in Turkey; these illustrate some though not all aspects of 
this wide-ranging development.®® 

Certainly, a Muslim growing up today in a world in which 
these men have thought and written is in a very different position, 
religiously, from his predecessors a hundred years ago. He has 
access to interpretations of Islam, and therefore of God, the world, 
and himself, very different from those to which he would find 
himself confined if the religion were somehow deprived of their 
work and were available only in its earlier versions. Singly, their 
achievement has been major; taken together their contribution 
can be seen as constituting an impressive, even exciting, step in 
the intellectual and spiritual adventure of Islam. 

However, it can also be seen, perhaps more justly, as a contribu- 
tion of which the significance has as yet been far from fully worked 
out. The next step in Islamic evolution may quite possibly be a 
matter of more wide-reaching influence and much deeper import. 
It may affect the central groups and institutions and formulations 
of the religious community; whereas liberalism so far, however 
striking, has been religiously peripheral. The quality of such a 
new development will in large part turn on whether the com- 
munity decides, or certain sections of it decide, for or against 
taking seriously the liberals’ contribution and expanding it, pur- 
suing the lines of inquiry that it opened up and consolidating the 
results firmly and sincerely within the faith. 

That, however, is a matter for the future; and for the Muslims. 
Not only do we leave that aside; we shall not here, in our hasten- 
ing survey, even examine closely what has observably been effected 
in the past. It would take us too far afield to study even a few 
illustrative instances of liberal Muslim accomplishment, or to 
trace its general development as a movement. This has in part 
already been done. We ourselves have previously had occasion to 
treat, although inadequately, the Indian aspect;®^ more important. 
Professor Gibb has given both outsiders and Muslims a descriptive 
analysis of modernism in wide range with emphasis on the Arab 

®® Apart from the preceding reference, specifications for persons named in 
this paragraph, or for the movements that they served, will be found as fol- 
lows: above, reff. 17 and 29, and below, reff. 34, 36, 38, 39, 47, and 48. 

Modern Islam in India, Lahore, 1943; London, "1946” (sc. 1947). See 
especially chap. 2; and s.v. in index. 


59 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

scene.*'® The Irani®® and Indonesian®’* developments remain to be 
studied. So does the Turkish, which in a way has been the most 
successful.®® 

The comprehensive history of Islamic liberalism we must leave 
to other investigators or another time. Here we must content our- 
selves with certain observations on its relation to the main stream 
of Islamic resurgence, and then endeavour to deal with the basic 
problem in regard to liberalism that must confront a student of 
the contemporary Muslim world, namely its recent decline. For 
Islam today, what requires elucidation is that the liberalism of the 
period just before World War I seems everywhere except in 
Turkey and perhaps Indonesia to have weakened as the century 
progressed. 

We must discriminate among persons, formulated values (and 
ideas and systems), and formally religious values (ideas, systems). 
Among liberals, liberalism, and Islam the interrelationships have 
been often subtle, and sometimes but not always close. There have 
been and are a great many Muslim liberals. There has been a con- 
siderable amount of liberal exposition of Islam. There has been 
relatively little Islamic, or even Muslim, exposition of liberalism. 

Let us examine this a little more fully. 

For some generations now a very sizable and probably grow- 
ing number of Muslims have lived individual lives, have nursed 
aspirations for themselves and their societies, and have exercised 
their minds, on quite recognizably liberal patterns. They have as 

H. A. R. Gibb, op. cit. 

s^For literature on modern Islam in Iran, cf. above, relT. i6 and 32, and 
below, chap. 7, ref. 6. 

® 7 Cf. above, ref. 17. Note also below, chap. 7, ref. 7, where it is indicated 
that the significance of Indonesia in Islamic liberalism is partly that that 
unique country has the Muslim world's apparently only indigenous liberal 
tradition, pre-Islamic and still vigorously alive. 

®«The basic study here will be the forthcoming monograph of Niyazi 
Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Modern Turkey. In the meantime, 
see his chapter “Flistorical Background of Turkish Secularism” in Richard N. 
Frye, ed., Islam and the West, 's-Cravenhage, 1957, pp. 41-68. Note also the 
brief but important article Abdulhak Adnan-Adivar, “Interaction of Islamic 
and Western Thought in Turkey," in T. Cuyler Young, ed.. Near Eastern 
Culture and Society: a symposium on the meeting of East and West, Princeton, 
1951, pp. 119-29 (this appears also, in substantially the same form, in The 
Middle East Journal, Washington, 1: 270-80 [1947]). For the recent period, 
cf. also ref. 30 above; and the refl. of Chap. 4 below, esp. 16, eo, 25. 

60 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

individuals met and mingled with liberals of other faiths, on terms 
of personal equality and ease and mutual understanding. 

Such men have been not only numerous but greatly significant. 
They have supplied the recent leadership of their societies in 
almost all spheres of activity (except the religious). Not only have 
they staffed most of the educational institutions, virtually consti- 
tuted the major professions, written a great many of the books, 
and edited the major newspapers. At the present time also they 
man the governments of almost every Muslim state. 

It is only partially untrue to remark that in this century the 
higher a Muslim’s position in leadership, the more liberal he has 
generally been. Though a minority, tire liberals have come close 
to being a dominant minority more or less throughout the modern 
Muslim world. 

If the liberals are so strong, why is liberalism weak? Whence has 
come about the gradual weakening in Muslim society of the ideas 
and attitudes, the convictions and loyalties that have expressed 
and sustained the distinctive outlook of this liberal group? Some 
elucidation of this is gained if we revert to our Islamic theme. For 
the rise and present decline of this ideology may significantly be 
viewed as almost episodic to the gradual resurgence in modern 
times of Islam itself as a force and a community. At least we must 
inquire how far the ideology was independent of Islam, how far 
and wherein related to it. And we shall observe that, however 
frequently and closely related, it does not seem to have been much 
integrated with the faith. 

Before we proceed, a further discrimination is in order; between 
ideas on the purely theoretical level, and operative ideas charged 
with power and commanding personal allegiance. This distinction, 
we shall see, is not quite the same as that between an extraneous 
liberalism and one related to Islam. Yet the two lie close. 

Early, and to some degree this has persisted throughout, there 
was a Muslim liberals’ non-indigenous liberalism. It was their 
personalization of a position of which the formulation was the 
work of Westerners. Thus Amir ‘Ali,®’’ in some ways the greatest 
of them, states that he had been "enthralled” by Gibbon before 
he was twelve, and by the age of twenty had read most of Shake- 
rs On Sayyid Amir ‘All of India see the article s.v. (by the present writer) 
in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., Leiden, 1956. 

61 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

speare, Milton, Keats, Byron, Longfellow, and other poets, along 
with the novels of Thackeray and Scott, and “knew Shelley almost 
‘by heart. Similarly Tawfiq al-Hakim’s novels read almost like 
translations from the French. Neither its enemies nor its friends 
would think to deny that the liberal movement in Islam in the 
last sixty years owes an enormous debt to that in Europe. 

In many instances the values so absorbed have been genuine and 
fruitful. The inspiration has been effective, generating a true and 
creative liberality of individual temperament, thought, and act. 
In certain other instances this Western-derived ideology has been 
accepted but not appropriated; has elicited no enthusiasm, and 
has carried its passive adherents along on a tide that flowed around 
but not within the personality. 

In both cases the persons remained explicitly Muslims. In the 
latter case no doubt the religious loyalty was for a time like the 
liberal, lukewarm, thougli it could later be re-aroused. The 
former, dynamic participants gave their movement intellectual 
expression in a liberalized Islam. Again our best example is Amir 
‘Ali, whose monumental Spirit of Islam*^ is probably the greatest 
single work of this whole trend. In the Arab world the several 
lives of the Prophet in the 1930’s — by Taha Husayn, Haykal, 
'Aqqad, and others^^ — are illustrative. Thus an indigenous Islamic 
formulation was given to the new viewpoint of this group. It 
related their liberalism to their Muslim-ness not merely by juxta- 

“Memoirs of the late Rt. Hon’ble Syed Ameer Ali,” Islamic Culture, 
Hyderabad, 5: 520, 526 (1931). 

*iA first version of this was published in 1873 as: Syed Ameer Ali, A 
Critical Examination of the Life and Teachings of Mohammed, London fe 
Edinburgh (Williams & Norgate). In i8gi W. H, Allen of London published 
The Life and Teachings of Mohammed, or The Spirit of Islam. A third edition 
of this came out in 1899. An "amplified and revised” edition was published 
by Christophers, London, 1922, and by Doran, New York, 1923: Syed Ameer 
Ali, The Spirit of Islam: a history of the evolution and ideals of Islam, with a 
life of the Prophet. This was reprinted in London 1923, and in a further 
revised edition posthumously in 1935: reprints of this have appeared in 1946, 
1949, 1952, and 1953. There was an abridged Turkish translation, by Umer 
Riza, Ruh-u Islam, Istanbul, 134J [1922-23?]. The present writer has been 
told of, but has not seen, sections translated into Arabic and published in 
al-Baydn, Cairo. 

<2 Cf. TTaha Husayn, ‘Aid. Hdmish al-Sirah, Cairo, 3 vols., n.d. [sc. 1934?], 
and subsequent edd.; Muhammad Husayn Haykal, Haydt Muhammad, Cairo, 
^354 [1935] and subsequent edd.; Tawfiq al-Hakim, Muhammad, Cairo, 1354/- 
1936 and subsequent ed.; 'Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad, ‘Abqariyat Muhammad, 
Cairo, n.d. [sc. 1942?]. 


62 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

position but as content and form. Surely here, it would seem, was 
a creative synthesis. 

Yet this ideology, though impressive, has in fact proven neither 
contagious and inspiring, nor even sustained. It was admirable, 
and was admired.*® But it was not cogent. And if one examines it 
more closely, one discovers that this is after all not really Islamic 
liberalism. One can hardly think, perhaps, of a major or significant 
work by a Muslim setting forth liberalism as an independent or 
even as an inspiring attitude, a set of intrinsically compelling 
values.** Yet one can point to many setting forth Islam as a liberal 
force, thereby eliciting applause but not devotion. The interpre- 
tation of the heritage incorporated the conclusions rather than 
the premises of liberalism. For those who had already adopted 
liberal values from other sources, it was satisfying. But it was not 
contrived to instill those values in a reader from scratch. The 
movement has not served to instigate a creative reform, nor to 
nourish the integrity of committed loyalties. 

There was another liberal Muslim development, which touched 
more closely the dynamic centre of Islamic impulses, and more 
deeply the hearts of its devotees. The generalization seems his- 
torically valid that those who drew their chief inspiration for 
liberalism from the West achieved results that were greatly more 
liberal, while those who drew it from the Islamic past achieved 
results that have been greatly more lasting, penetrating, and 
seminal. ‘Abduh’s has been a less elegant, less thorough, less win- 
some*® modernism than Amir ‘Ali’s or Khalifah ‘Abdu-l-Hakim’s 
( 1 894- ),*“ but immensely more energizing. ‘Ubaydullah Sindhi 

*” Cf. the present writer on Amir ‘All; Modern Islam in India, Lahore 
p. 56 (London ed., p. 55). 

Is Iqbal, especially perhaps in his earlier work, an exception? And Say- 
yidayn (cf. K. G. Saiyidain, Iqbal’s Educational Philosophy, Lahore, 1938; 
rev. ed., 1945; the same, Iqbal; The Man and the Message, London, 1949)? 
Yet Iqbal is so contradictory and unsystematic that it is difficult to assess him. 
He is the 5 u£i who attacked Sufism, and perhaps the liberal who attacked 
liberalism. The historical consequence of his impact seems on the whole to 
have served to weaken liberalism among Indian Muslims and to help replace 
it (cf. the later part of this present section, below) with an illiberal national- 
istic and apologist dynamism. 

*® Cf. Gibb, op. cit., p. 43. 

*® Author of Islamic Ideology: the fundamental beliefs and principles of 
Islam and their application to practical life, Lahore, 1951 (and ed., ibid., 
*953): ^tid editor of the monthly journal Saqdfat, Lahore (1955- ). He is 

Director of the Institute of Islamic Culture, Lahore (1950- ). 

^3 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

and Abu-1- Kalam Azad in India, Rashid of Tehran, Rashid Rida 
of Cairo, produced less sophisticated books than Khuda Bakhsh 
and Yusuf ‘Ali, or Abbas Iqbal, or Ahmad Amin; but they pro- 
voked much more excitement and action.^’^ 

One might, indeed, almost question the validity of lumping 
together these diverse develoioments under one heading. Might 
one not better separate at least a Westernized liberalism from an 
indigenous modernist reform? Yet one is justified, if not forced, 
to treat them unitedly by at least two considerations. The first has 
to do with the nature of the liberal values themselves, such as the 
concern for every man in his individual personality, with its own 
distinctive capacity for growth, its superlative freedom and inner 
responsibility, and for the rational consent of his mind, over 
against all systems and overt authority. These values, we believe, 
are in fact universal; however particular certain liberal “move- 

On ‘Ubayclullah Sindhi (1872-1944) the chief works are in Urdu: 
Muhammad Sarwar, Maiuldnd 'Ubaydulldh Sindhi, Lahore, 1943, and Sa'id 
Ahmad AkbarabadT, Mawldnd 'Ubaydulldh Sindhi awr un-ke Ndqid, Lahore, 
1946. The former writer has edited ‘Ubaydullah’s own writings. In English, 
see M. Mazheruddin Siddiqi, “Obaid-ullah Sindhi” in The Islamic Literature, 
Lahore, 8:379-89 (1956). 

Abu-l-Kalam Azad (1888- ), venerable religious scholar and at present 

Education Minister in the Government of India, has long been an important 
Muslim political and intellectual leader in Indian nationalism, and a great 
writer in Urdu. One may mention the influential paper al-Hildl, Calcutta, 
1912-14, which he edited, and of his many books perhaps Tarjumdnu-l-Qur'dn, 
Calcutta, 1931- (2 voll. have appeared so far) and Ghubdr-i Khdtir (num- 

erous edd.; that available to us, Lahore, 1946). See further the Mu'in bibliog- 
raphy noted at ref. 3 above. 

Ilusayn ‘Ali Rashid (1902- ) is not a writer of books but a preacher; 

he has become very popular over the Tihran radio. There is a 5-volume col- 
lection of his talks: Sukhanrdnthd-yi Rashid, Tihran, 1322-24/1943-45. See 
Uaydari, op. cit. at ref. 32 above. 

On Rashid Rida (1865-1935) see Adams, op. cit., s.v. in index; al-Amir 
Shakib Arslan, al-Sayyid Rashid Rida, aw ikhd’ arbaln sanah, Damascus, 
1356/1937; iiiid Henri Laoust in his introduction to his translation Le Califat 
dans la doctrine de Rasid Rida, Beyrouth, 1938. On Khuda Bakhsh (1877- 
1931) ‘inti Yusuf ‘Ali (1872-1953), see W. C. Smith, op. cit., s.w. in index. 
‘Abbas Iqbal (1899-1956) was an Irani literary historian. 

On Ahmad Amin (1886-1954) see his autobiography Haydti, Cairo, 1950; 
cf. M. Perlmann, "The Autobiography of Ahmad Amin,” Middle Eastern 
Affairs, New York, 5: 17-24 (1954) and Kenneth Cragg, “Then and Now in 
Egypt. The Reflections of Ahmad Amin,” in The Middle East Journal, 
Washington, 9: 28-40 (1955). He is known chiefly as an historian (cf. below, 
chap. 4. ref. 5) and as a litterateur; see the article of H.A.R. Gibb s.v. in The 
Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., Leiden, 1956. 

64 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

merits,” Victorian or other, may have been. Formal patterns of 
liberal ideas have definable histories, but liberal attitudes must 
be acknowledged as such wherever they occur. 

Secondly, the two strands in recent Muslim history have in fact 
intertwined; not only in their ramifying results in the community, 
but in individual cases. The influence of both types on the rising 
generations has been widespread and on the whole undiscriminat- 
ing. Indeed, the leaders themselves have not kept them distinct. 
The Westernizing liberal Taha Husayn was, before his Paris edu- 
cation, a student of the rationalizing orthodox ‘Abduh. Conversely, 
the Indian orthodox rationalizer Shibli was first a disciple of the 
pro-Westernist Sir Sayyid. In both cases the early influence was 
clearly significant. 

Indeed, if one tried to dichotomize, it would be difficult in the 
case of a great leader such as Sir Sayyid^® to decide into which cate- 
gory he would fall. In some ways strikingly a Muslim gentleman 
of the old school, hardly knowing English and willingly dubbed 
a Wahhabi, yet perhaps his major contribution was his insistent 
introduction into the community of explicitly Western liberal 
ways. 

Moreover, the more indigenous, practical tendency of liberalized 
Muslim reform is for our purposes to be compared with the West- 
ernized intellectualist tendency also on one further score. This 
is the negative but significant point that it too fell short of pro- 
ducing an effective, transmissible synthesis of Islamic and liberal 
loyalties. As in the other case, individual leaders achieved such a 
synthesis for themselves. Yet they could not give it an expression 
that would spur others to continuing their creative achievement. 

Sir Sayyid exemplified liberal Islam more forcefully than he 
formulated it. I-Ie was a Muslim acting on the liberal values with 
sincerity and effectiveness. Yet he did not succeed in getting across 
to his generation or its successors an interpretation of Islam into 
which the liberal values were integrated. 

This is true also of Muhammad ‘Abduh. The spirit of the man 
and of his teachings is inherently liberal, deeply and greatly so. 

*8 On Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-98) see the article ahmad khan by 
J. M. S. Baljon, Jr. in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edition, Leiden, 1956. 
To the bibliography there given, add the important Special Aligarh Number 
(“ ‘Aligarh Nambar”), 1953-54 — 1954-55, of the ‘Allgadh Maygaztn, Aligarh, 
1955; and Nuru-r-Rahman, Hayat-i Sar Sayyid, Aligarh, n.d. [1956?]. 

65 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

Yet the finished product of his work transmitted to others incor- 
porates this only very partially. We have seen that the intellectual 
exposition of the Westernizers lacked power and drive. The force- 
ful work of the reformers lacked effective systematic exposition. 

In isum, then, we would attribute the decline of liberalism in 
recent Islam in significant part to the fact that such liberalism 
as has been achieved — whether primarily of external or internal 
source, whether primarily in ideas or in activity — has not yet been 
formulated in such a way as to envisage its dynamic truth as within 
the central structure of the Islamic faith.*“ 

This means that it has not been set forth in such a way as to 
be theoretically compelling to a Muslim as such; nor incorporated 
in practice — specifically, related to worship — in such a way as to 
give religious power to those intellectually persuaded. The liberal 
leaders of society have been but little provided with a religious 
base appropriate to their life and thought; the paraphernalia of 
Islam have failed to keep pace with them, while they kept pace 
with modernity. The consequence has been not only their in- 
ability to communicate their vision to others, but also that in 
times of stress they have not had the necessary courage and in- 
tegrity to fight for it themselves. 

Our analysis so far has been on matters of principle, dealing 
with the relation of the ideology that was elaborated to Islam 
primarily as a system. We believe this important for our under- 
standing. Yet the development is richly illustrated and further 
clarified when one then turns to treat the new patterns in relation 
to the actual movement of Islam in recent history — the drive 
towards mundane resurgence. We shall see that the use in fact 

^9 That there has been as yet virtually no explicit reconsideration of the 
central issues of the faith is attested both by Muslims themselves and by out- 
side students. “The few main fundamentals of Islam were not subject to any 
serious revolution or evolution caused by modern Western secular or any 
other Western Influence. . . . The modern Muslims never touched the main 
theological concepts in their reforms. . . . The theological aspect has not been 
subject to any substantial evolution,” Mohammad Hassan El-Zayyat, “Islam 
Confronted by Western Secularism: Evolutionary Reaction,” in D. S. Franck, 
ed., Islam in the Modern World, Washington, 1951, p. ga. Cf. similarly F. Rah- 
man, op. cit. The most attentive observer in the West of modern Arab reli- 
gious thought: ‘Few, if any, of the basic theological and orthodox doctrines 
of Islam have been directly involved in the intellectual debates of twentieth- 
century Arab Islam” — Kenneth Cragg, “The Modernist Movement in Egypt,” 
in Richard N. Frye, ed., Islam and the West, ’s-Gravenhage, 1957, p. 151. 

66 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

made by the community o£ the ideas and tendencies introduced, 
has been in terras less of liberalism’s inherent qualities than of the 
community’s felt needs and goals. Its handling of this as of other 
modernities has been largely in relation to its own intrinsic de- 
velopment. 

If we revert to our central theme, seeing Islam’s fundamental 
modern problem as that of rehabilitating its earthly self, we may 
consider its development of liberalism also as an activity with a 
practical purpose. This is only in part true of the liberal leaders. 
These, as we have seen, in some cases evolved for themselves a 
loyal and genuine commitment to the new values. Those who 
followed them more generally saw liberalism, or some particular 
aspect of it, as at least in part a useful instrument in the refurbish- 
ing of Islamic society. We have already noted that some Muslims 
regarded rationalism, humanism. Westernizing, and the like as 
further disruptive threats to the on-going process of actualizing 
the Islamic ideal on earth. Others disagreed. These felt or argued, 
consciously or by implication, that to employ one or other of these 
would, rather, prove effective expedients in the task. Some took 
the position even that it was necessary to adopt them in order that 
Muslim society might once again be strong. 

In a sense something similar has been partly characteristic even 
of Islamic liberalism in Turkey.®® Certainly in most of the Islamic 
world the liberal movement hardly obscured and sometimes 
illuminated the motif of endeavouring to redress the internal de- 
cline of Muslim society, to stand against external encroachment, 
and to recapture a former greatness. 

The community’s attitude is shown in the selectivity it exercised 
and the development it accorded to such work as was accomplished. 
For example, the Indian Muslim community accepted (not un- 

Here, too, the appropriation of Western values, the rigorous rationalizing 
of social processes, and even religious reform have in significant measure been 
in the service of the regeneration of the community. We shall explore this 
situation somewhat in chap. 4 below. We shall presently be considering also 
as an aspect of nationalism the question whether the Turks gave the whole 
matter a distinctive and indeed crucial twist, by making the fundamental 
shift of its being Turkish rather than Muslim society whose cause they were 
serving, as it has seemed to some Muslims as well as to some Western observers. 
Their revolution is accordingly seen as on a nationalistic rather than a reli- 
gious basis. This is, of course, up to a point true. However, we shall presently 
argue that the difference here between them and other Muslim groups is 
not in fact quite so great as either they or others have supposed. 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

reluctantly) Sir Sayyid’s introduction o£ English education. But 
it insisted that in his College neither his ideas nor the English 
language should be applied to the study of Islam.'^^ It gave serious 
attention to his appeal for liberal social reform/^ but has neglected 
his venture into liberal Qur’an interpretation.®^ ‘Abduh’s sincere 
and moving appeal for an Islam unbound by inhibiting traditional 
interpretation {taqlid) has led to a few remarkable individual 
advances in the realm of intellectual insight. Yet it has much more 
effectively led, in the Salafiyah or Manar movement, willingly ac- 
cepting Wahhabi influence, to a reinvigorated fundamentalist 
activism. 

Indeed, one can generalize these matters further. The liberalism 
that appeared in the Muslim world, chiefly before the First World 
War, in so far as it was unrelated to Islam tended to be weak, un- 
creative, inert. In so far as it was related to Islam, and has been 
absorbed or utilized by the community, it has tended to become 
subordinated to prior Islamic j^urposes. Liberalism has modified 
Islam much less than it has been modified by it. The movement, 
particularly in its humanism, has served to strengthen the this- 
worldly emphasis of the Islamic outlook. It has assisted in con- 
centrating religious aspiration on temporal programmes — such as 
nationalism, which is our next topic. But in this process of subor- 
dination it has been adapted, even transformed. The reason on 
which the liberals insisted has been employed to defend the faith. 
The freedom from constraint that they exalted has been turned 
to activate without discipline the community’s self-assertion. In 

Cf. J. M. S. Baljon, Jr., The Reforms and Religious Ideas of Sir Sayyid 
Ahmad Khan, Leiden, 1949, p. 41, and the reil. there cited. Cf. also the present 
writer's brief article “Ek Sawal,” 'Allgadlh Maygazin, Aligarh, 1955, pp. 81-83. 

‘’2 Expressed most markedly in the journal Tahzlbu-l-Akhldq, (1870-76), 
which he edited, and the organization Mohammedan Educational Conference 
(1886- ), which he established. 

“s Tafsiru-l-CTiir’dn, wa huwa al-Hudd wa al-Furqdn, 6 voll., Lahore, n.d. 
[1880-95?]. This work has long been out of print, and was never influential 
(except to call down upon its author the vituperation and wrath of the 
religious). A study of it, with partial translation into English and full trans- 
lation of the prolegomena Tahrir fi Usui al-Tafsir (ed. available to us, 
Lahore, 1913) is under preparation by our colleague Muhammad Da’ud 
Rahbar. A part of this last has been published as “Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s 
Principles of Exegesis,” The Muslim World, Hartford, 46: 104-12 (1956). On 
the general question of opposition to Sir Sayyid’s religious views, cf. Baljon, 
op. cit., pp. 68-76, and the reff. there cited. 


68 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

short, the intellectualist aspect of liberalisra has been merged into 
apologetics, and its practical aspect into vitalistic dynamism. 

Nationalism, apologetics, and dynamism, as we have already 
indicated, are the three outstanding new tendencies of modern 
Islam. We shall be taking them up presently. In the meantime, 
before closing our discussion of liberalism’s decline, we must note 
one final major factor: the West. We have said that the ascendancy 
of Europe, with its liberalism, was at the end of the nineteenth 
century clearly significant in the rise of Islamic liberalism. Equally, 
in the latter’s more recent decline it is not difficult to discern 
Western influence. 

For one thing, there has been in the West itself after the First 
World War a great enfeeblement of the liberal tradition. The 
reasons for this are subtle and complex; we cannot go into them 
here. Yet it is worth our noting that many throughout the world 
have deemed that liberalism has proven unable in severe crisis to 
hold the rein of man’s passion, or to bear the weight of his anguish. 

Secondly, there has been also the marked decline in the West’s 
prestige as a whole. The ascendancy was first successfully chal- 
lenged by the Japanese victory over imperialist Russia in 1905. 
The moral authority of Europe suffered a serious blow in the First 
World War. It virtually crumbled in the Second.'’^ There has been, 
of course, much misinterpretation, even misrepresentation; other 
civilizations have been hardly more successful in understanding 
the real values or inner springs of the West than the West has with 
them. However that may be, very few Westerners have any inkling 
of how little esteem their culture has today in the Orient. 

Indeed, a situation has been reached where the Western con- 
nection of liberalism — or of any trend — is itself a strong argument 
against it. The West used to be resisted for its economic and 
political domination, its overt power threat to Muslim (and other 
Eastern) society. But the inner quality of its life, and especially 
its liberalism, was considerably admired. And it was generally be- 
lieved that Western liberalism was in conflict with Western im- 
perialism, was the friend and ally of Oriental and subject peoples. 

This language is perhaps too gentle, too self-righteous. Some would claim 
that the West’s “moral authority” never existed among but a tiny minority, 
and such as it was had been shattered long before mid-century; by the time 
of the First World War, not the Second. 

69 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

Nowadays this is widely changed. The West today is not only 
feared but disliked. The antipathy is to its spirit, not only to its 
arms. And the shift in Western leadershiir after the Second World 
War has exacerbated this. In power, arrogance, and insensitive 
uncouthness, America has seemed to many Easterners almost to 
have enhanced the failings and moderated the virtues of the 
European tradition. 

If the dominating feature of global affairs today is the question 
of Communist expansionism, surely of rival long-range significance 
for tomorrow is the depth and bitterness and increase of anti- 
Westernism throughout most of the world. 

Thirdly, there has been disappointment in the specific relations 
between Islam and Western liberalism itself. We have seen that 
many Muslims approached liberalism in a spirit of hope or convic- 
tion that the West, or reason, or Western liberalism would prove 
of assistance in the basic enterprise of reconstructing Islamic soci- 
ety, of setting Islamic history once again on the road to fulfillment. 
These hopes have on the whole proven deceptive. In the 1890’s 
Muslim liberals, though a minority in their own communities, 
could believe that cooperation with the (even more optimistic) 
liberals of Europe could bring about fairly quickly a brave new 
world. Such cooperation or assistance did not appear to be effec- 
tively forthcoming. The advance of liberalism at home did not 
seem to be reflected in a corresponding fulfillment of its promise 
for the outside world, specifically in this case Islam. 

With the exception of a few individuals, the West was seen as 
continuing to act as either indifferent to or even still the opponent 
of the Muslim peoples, or at least of their corporate personality. 
Politically, the West seemed resolute to maintain imperial domina- 
tion. Economically, its pressures remained forceful.®® Culturally, 
its arrogance persisted. While a few scholars and expositors were 
slowly and with great labour striving to understand more accu- 
rately and to interpret more appreciatively the Islamic tradition. 

In the second half of the twentieth century began the new policy of 
Western economic assistance to "underdeveloped" countries. It is too early 
yet to assess the psychological and spiritual results of this. One thing is 
certain: that these are vastly less favourable for human understanding and 
rapprochement and mutual friendship than they would have been had the 
policy been less explicitly linked to ulterior political purposes, and less sharply 
divorced from humane sympathy and cultural insight. There has been a sad 
ineptness, on the whole, in the giving of assistance. 


70 



ISLAM IN REGENT HISTORY 

their work could not begin to keep pace with the growing contact; 
Muslim discovery of the West was in large part a pained discovery 
of Western antipathy to Islam. It is in the Arab world that a 
pained awareness of being rejected has been most acute, symbolized 
of late in Zionism; and we shall consider the very instructive Arab 
situation with some attention in our next chapter. In general it 
gradually became the conviction of even the Westernized Muslims 
that any reconstruction of their society to which they might aspire 
they must undertake themselves, without the help and even against 
the weight of Christendom. 

This betrays a tendency to look upon liberalism as a force that 
might help them, rather than as an attitude by which they might 
help themselves. Perhaps the former must come first. In any case, 
conviction was inhibited not only by Western liberalism’s general 
insouciance for Islam. Where there was overt application, here 
too it became increasingly felt in the Muslim world that what little 
was being offered was of small actual value for stopping the erosion 
increasingly threatening the Islamic community. Western secular 
leaders presumed (and still tend to insist) that Muslim liberals 
should be secular, playing down the Islamic element in their 
society. Western religious liberals, even if not still in an exclusivist 
sense Christian (as most of the missionaries still tend to be: Chris- 
tian liberalism has hardly yet come to the point of recognizing 
a religious value in serving Islam as such), presumed that Muslims 
should be individualist, playing down the social element in their 
faith.®" Western liberalism did not seem to orient itself to Islam 
in a way that would contribute to solving Islam’s central modern 
problem. 

Something similar is true of Orientalism, in a sense the West’s 
application of reason to the data of Islam. Some have recognized 
a large debt that Muslim learning owes to Western scholarship 
in this field. Many have found selected parts of its results useful 
for their apologetic purposes, especially in glorifying the Islamic 
past. Some helpful work has been deeply appreciated. Yet on the 
whole the work of Occidental Islamics scholarship, not always 

""An illustration: a Muslim friend remarked to us (Karachi, May 1949): 
“I attended a mission college in the South. I was very happy there. The teach- 
ers met us at the personal level, and diey were extremely good to us. They 
took a personal interest in our future, would do anything to help us as 
individuals. But it never crossed their minds to help us as a community, to 
help us find the self-realization of our culture.” 

7-f 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

reverent or constructive, has appeared to many Muslims as in basic 
tendency disintegrative of Islam in its central formulations, as 
one more attack upon and threat to the faith.®’^ 

Finally there remains a basic fact: the indifferent performance 
in Muslim countries of imported liberal institutions, from parlia- 
mentary democracy to mixed swimming. Even the functioning of 
“liberal” educational systems was open to serious indictment. 
Western observers would attribute this failure to the societies’ very 
imperfect understanding of and commitment to the principles on 
which these institutions rest, the inevitable failure of operating 
external forms without the inner loyalties of spirit. They would 
infer a need for more and deeper liberalism, rather than less. But 
many in the Muslim societies themselves come to a contrary con- 
clusion, feeling rather that these un-Islamic ways have been tried 
and found wanting. Their recent history, it is not difficult for the 
return-to-Islam school to argue, has conspicuously demonstrated 
the ineptness of liberalism, its inability to lead the Muslims in 
practice to social justice or the good life. Few, whether Communist 
or Western, religious or secular, liberal or other, would disagree 
that something new is needed for that regeneration of which 
Islamic society, as the rest of us today, stands in need. 

Whatever the interpretation — and we shall pursue and illustrate 
our analysis later in the particular cases of the Arab world and 
Pakistan — the general fact is that during the past quarter century 
or so, liberalism in Islam has markedly waned. In some areas one 
might be tempted to say, evaporated. 

There are exceptions to the general trend, or apparent excep- 
tions. The chief is, as so often, Turkey. We cannot trace histori- 
cally the highly special and highly significant Turkish case, though 
we shall devote a chapter presently to some aspects of the present 
Turkish situation. In post-partition India, also, as we shall explore 
later, something significant may be developing. The Muslim com- 

Even in its more recent, more sympathetic, orientalism, Western studies 
are widely misunderstood and rejected. The attempt to be analytic is regarded 
as merely destructive. Western books on Islam are often read not in order 
to see how illuminating they may be, but how laudatory. One recent minor 
instance illustrating the present mood is afforded by the way in which a 
petulant attack upon The Encyclopaedia of Islam elicited an emotional 
response from a wide circle of Muslims, as evidenced by its repeated use: 
we have chanced to see it in The Islamic Literature, Lahore, 7: 581-83 (1955); 
Yaqeen, Karachi, 4: 52 (1375/1955); and elsewhere. 


72 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

munity in India was in 1947 suddenly and shatteringly bereft of 
alternatives that until recently it had ardently espoused; and it is 
showing signs in some sections of perhaps taking up again, though 
reluctantly, the liberal course. In Indonesia, neither the rise of an 
Islamic liberalism nor its decline seems to have gone so far as in 
other Muslim countries. The special quality there is that many 
of the values of liberalism — especially tolerance, and the status of 
women as full persons — are indigenous, particularly Javanese 
(pre-Islamic). The great question is whether the contemporary 
resurgence of Islam in Indonesia will lead to a synthesis or a con- 
flict with the local tradition. 

Common to these instances is that the strength and persistence, 
and perhaps even the content, of liberalism are due to explicitly 
non-Islamic factors. And in no case has the relation to Islam been 
worked out, or even much attempted. Hence our qualification that 
they may be only apparent exceptions. It has yet to be seen whether 
these communities will develop liberalism as a force within Islam; 
and in any case even these exceptions have put the emphasis else- 
where. By and large one may say that throughout the Muslim 
world liberal interpretation has been giving way in Islamic de- 
velopment to other methods of reconstruction, to which we must 
now turn. These are chiefly three: nationalism, apologetics, dy- 
namism. 

Nationalism 

It is obvious that the nationalist movements in the various 
Muslim areas have become strenuous and almost overriding. A 
great deal of the energy of the entire Islamic world has been 
devoted to the long struggle to ward off or oust foreign domina- 
tion. Such nationalism, of course, here as elsewhere, is highly 
complex. It is related to nationalism in Europe: both the ideas and 
institutions of the West affected deeply the Westernized minority 
who led the movement. It is related to nationalism in the rest of 
Asia: there is clearly much in common between the Muslim 
nationalist movements and those of India, China, and the like. 
It is related to nationalism in past Islamic history. For instance, 
Iran has a continuous nationalist tradition culturally from the 
time of Firdawsi at least, in the eleventh century, and politically 
from that of the Safavis, who in 1500 set up one of the world’s 
early nationalist states. And so on. It can obviously be no part of 


73 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

our purpose here to treat Muslim nationalist movements in any 
sort of full analysis or comprehensive outline. We consider them 
in one aspect only, their relation to the religion of Islam. 

This in itself is complex enough. It is complex not only in the 
obvious and important sense that each nationalism is of course dis- 
tinctive, with its own geographic, historical, economic and other 
particularities, individual characteristics that it is the nature of 
nationalism to stress. The nationalism of Indonesia is Indonesian 
in the way that Arabs cannot share and indeed mostly cannot 
understand. The role of Islam in Turkish and that of Islam in 
Iranian nationalism are necessarily and inherently divergent. 

The complexity lies, further, in the fact that there has developed 
in each case and in general an ambivalence within the religio- 
nationalist relation which has as yet not at all been resolved. 

The first and altogether fundamental consideration here con- 
cerns nationalism regarded in its overriding negative quality as 
the drive to eject alien control. This is not only compatible with 
Islam in its traditional and its religious and its social and every 
other sense. More: it is part and parcel of Islam’s modern resur- 
gence. The endeavour of the Indonesian Muslims to get rid of the 
Dutch, of the Syrian and Maghribi Muslims to get rid of the 
French, of the Indian Muslims to get rid of the British, has been 
an inherent and indeed basic element in the overall endeavour 
of Muslims in general to reassert their community in the con- 
temporary world. Similarly, the Turkish thrust to throw back the 
Greeks (1922) or the Iranian to frustrate Anglo-Russian “spheres 
of influence” (iSgo’s, 1940’s) have also been direct steps in the 
revitalization of mundane Islam. 

It would be palpably false to aver that the Islamic was the only 
element in these movements. Clearly there were others, from eco- 
nomics to language and more. Yet it would equally be false to 
suppose that the Islamic note was either absent or in any way 
discordant. 

Within the task of rehabilitating Islamic history from the de- 
cline into which it had sunk, the need was imperative and crucial 
and of top priority to end the subjection of the community to 
infidel power. In general, those who have wanted to see Islam 
once again “a going concern” have naturally and emphatically 
supported the several attempts to free its peoples. In the leadership 
of such movements, especially in their early stages, primarily reli- 


74 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

gious figures have in some cases been prominent and even decisive. 
We have already noted Jamalu-d-Din Afghani’s inciting of local 
nationalisms. Examples in individual countries are Muhammad 
‘Abduh in Egypt, the Deobandis and Abu-l-Kalam Azad in 
India,®” Ahmad Dakhlan in Indonesia.™ 

Furthermore, the driving force of nationalism has become more 
and more religious the more the movement has penetrated the 
masses. Even where the leaders and the form and the ideas of the 
movement have been nationalist on a more or less Western pattern, 
the followers and the substance and the emotions were significantly 
Islamic. (The Westernizing leaders have frequently been sur- 
prised to discover the degree to which they have let loose an Is- 
lamic upsurge.) In the realm of opposition to outsiders, there was 
decidedly no conflict between the two. On the contrary, they have 
been mutually helpful, each contributing an important and even 
essential element to the other’s success. As we have said, this is 
the fundamental fact regarding nationalism in the modern Islamic 
world. 

Some Muslims”^ and some Westerners have contended, nonethe- 
less, that there is inherently a very much less harmonious relation- 
ship between Islam and nationalism as basic ideas. They have had 
in mind nationalism in its positive rather than negative aspect, 
as a constructive loyalty to a national group. This is a different 
matter. It is true that nationalism in this form would seem in 
theory less assimilable to Islam. Also it is true, in practice, that 
this form of nationalism has been very much less in evidence in 
the Islamic world. 

™ For ‘Abduh as a nationalist leader, cf. Adams, op. cit., pp. 52-57. 
so The Daru-l-'Ulum (1876- ) at Deoband, U.P., India, has played a 

distinguished part in the political and religious life of the Indo-Muslira 
community. Yet no careful published study of it seems to be available. A 
small amount of information is to be found in W. C. Smith, op. cit., pp. 320- 
si (London ed., pp. 295-96), and see s.v. in index. See further the Mu'in 
bibliography noted at ref. 3 above. 

™ On Kiyai Hajji Ahmad Dakhlan (1868-1923) see s.v. Dachlan in Ensiklo- 
pedia Indonesia, Bandung/’s Gravenhage, vol. 1, n.d. [sc. 1954]. 

siE.g., “Islam and nationalism in any form are two incompatible modes 
of thought and life” — [Mazharu-d-Din $iddlqi. Editor] The Islamic Literature, 
Lahore, 8: 435 (1956). “Inlheir spirit and in their aims Islam and nationalism 
are diametrically opposed to each other” — Sayyed Abulala Maudoodi, Na- 
tionalism and India (trans.), Pathankot, 1947; and ed., Karachi, 1947, p. 10. 
Cf. also tire pungent poem of Iqbal, “Wataniyat,” Bang-i Dara, Lahore, 1924; 
12 th imp., 1948, p. 173. 


75 


ISLAM IN REGENT HISTORY 

It is important to distinguish the two. To resist aliens, to work 
against their domination, even to hate or despise them, is one 
thing. To respect all members of one’s own nation, to envisage its 
welfare, to evolve an effective loyalty to that welfare, and to work 
constructively so as to bring it about, is quite another. It is easier 
to see what one is or should be fighting against, than to imagine 
what one is or should be fighting for. For a religion also, opposi- 
tion is easier than construction. And it is sometimes not appreci- 
ated how negative until now have been the nationalisms of the 
Islamic world. Turkey is, as ever, the exception; the Turks are 
the one Muslim people in modern times who have generated a 
positive conception of what they want, and an operative loyalty 
towards attaining it. The particular relation of this goal and this 
loyalty to Islam will later occupy our attention. Of the other 
Muslim peoples, the nationalist programmes so far have either 
been purely negative, aimed at getting rid of something; or else 
they have proven unable to engender enough devotion to get 
themselves implemented. 

Indian nationalism, like Turkish, has evolved a positive ambi- 
tion: to be a secular welfare state. But from it most Muslims chose 
to withdraw; and those who could not in the end do so have far 
from worked out their own, let alone their religion’s, relation to 
this objective. To their situation also we shall be returning. 
Pakistan, Syria, and to some extent Indonesia are examples of 
movements where recent success in throwing off foreign rule after 
long and persistent struggle has been followed by a vast and serious 
uncertainty as to what to do next. And there has been a discon- 
certing inability to elicit on any wide scale that constructive allegi- 
ance that is needed for a nation to survive a deep crisis and to 
build for itself an effective life in the modern world. Iran and 
Egypt also are examples of Muslim countries where nationalism, 
with a longer opportunity to develop both a positive programme 
and a loyal commitment to it, again has evinced strength only on 
the negative, anti-foreign score. Whether the military regime of 
‘Abd al-Nasir (“Nasser”) will succeed where the Wafd failed re- 
mains to be seen. 

One may ardently hope so. One may, and indeed must, hope 
also that the other areas too will quickly discover, or create, a 

yd 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


positive content for their national existence.®^ This is contempo- 
rary history, and we shall return to its deep problem later. Our 
present concern is simply to stress that the relation between this 
positive nationalism and Islam has remained almost purely a 
theoretical problem, since acceptance of it by Muslims has re- 
mained so slight. This much at least would seem valid: that some 
writers have been too hasty in assuming or concluding that a 
Western-type nationalism in this positive sense could be or has 
been adopted fairly easily or effectively into the Islamic world. 
They would seem to have overestimated the readiness of that 
world with its different tradition of loyalties and emotions to 
incorporate this alien phenomenon. Negative nationalism, yes; 
the desire and determination to be on one’s own. But, once one’s 
group is free, the discipline to get up early in the morning, to 
work long hours, to turn down bribes, the inspiration to dream 
and the energy to actualize one’s dreaming, all for national welfare 
and for national rewards, these have been less obvious. In the 
past, only Islam has provided for these peoples this type of disci- 
pline, inspiration, and energy. 

A third basic point in this matter is that wherever nationalism 
has been adopted in the Muslim world, and in whatever form, the 
‘nation’ concerned has been a Muslim group. No Muslim people 
has evolved a national feeling that has meant a loyalty to or even 
concern for a community transcending the bounds of Islam.®® 

Or else a new form of existence. This seems less likely, but is advocated 
by a few voices; e.g., Khallqu-z-Zaman in Pakistan (cf. below, ref. 69). In the 
Arab world, Sati' al-flusari has advocated that the individual nationalisms of 
the Arab states, at least, should be superseded by a more encompassing 
common life, even though this would still be but Arab. Of his some twenty 
books and pamphlets, see perhaps especially his Ard’ wa Ahddlth ft al- 
Qawmlyah al-‘Arahiyah, Cairo, 1951; and his inaugural lecture to the Arab 
League’s new Institute of Higher Arab Studies, al-Muhddarah al-Iftitdhiyah, 
Cairo, 1954. 

0® Indeed, on tliis score also Western nationalisms are hardly an exception. 
In theory, nationalism in the West has posited the nation as the unit of 
loyalty, ignoring religious differences. This theory has been successful in 
practice chiefly where the differences were sectarian, intra-religious. Even the 
United States, which is justly proud of having assimilated many diverse types 
of peoples, has never included significant numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, 
or Taoists. Indeed, no Western nation has ever included non-Christian groups 
of any size — except Jews; and the treatment of Jews by the West, though it 
has at times been good, at other times has been a matter of indescribable 
shame. It is true that non-Muslim minorities feel insecure throughout the 
Muslim world, and in some instances are very deeply frightened. But it is 


77 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

The Striking test has been India. The Indian nationalism, 
Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, to which some Muslims once gave them- 
selves with zeal, presently collapsed in shreds so far as the general 
Muslim group was concerned. In fact, that group turned against 
it with a terrifying violence. There were, of course, as always, 
other reasons for this collapse: economic, political, Hindu, and the 
like.*'* But the relevant fact here is that those other reasons pre- 
vailed. A non-Islamic nationalism could not, for Muslims, stand 
against them. The appeal to the Muslim group for loyalty to a 
society other than its own religious one, failed. 

Elsewhere, Muslim groups differ as to the degree to which the 
Islamic interplay with nationalism is overt and explicit. They do 
not differ in the fact that everywhere their nationalisms are enthu- 
siasms for Muslim nations. 

Indonesia provides the apparently clearest example of nation- 
alist and Muslim movements working not merely side by side but 
interpenetratingly in the period of anti-foreign struggle, and then 
separating out once independence is achieved. Thereupon, too, 
the Islamic groups have further divided, into those whose goal is 

also probably true, in varying degrees, that throughout the world (except pre- 
Communist China?) hardly any religious minority feels secure. 

Of the rise and reverberating fall of Muslim participation in Indian 
nationalism, there is no monographic study, and perhaps no adequate study 
investigating this matter as a problem in itself. For tangential treatment 
from various points of view, see B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan, Bombay, 1947; 
Shaukatullah Ansarl, Pakistan: the problem of India, Lahore, 1944; W. Nor- 
man Brown, "Hindu-Muslim Communalism” and “The Creation of Pakistan," 
chapp. VII and VIII of his The United Slates and India and Pakistan, Cam- 
bridge, Mass., 1953, pp. 112-43: Sir Reginald Coupland, “Hindu-Moslem 
Antagonism” and “The Moslem Reaction,” Part 1, chap. Ill and Part v, chap. 
XVIII of his [Report on] the Constitutional Problem in India, London, 3 
voll., 1942-44 (Bombay, one vol., and New York, one vol., 1944: abridgement: 
India: a restatement, London and New York, 1945) (1: 28-36 and 2: 179-207 
of the full Indian ed., 1945 reprint; see further s.v. "Moslems” in the indexes); 
Jawaharlal Nehru, “The Question of Minorities. The Moslem League. Mr. 
M. A. Jinnah,” chap. VIII, §5 of his The Discovery of India. New York, 1946, 
pp. 384-99; Mohammad Noman, Muslim India: rise and growth of the All 
India Muslim League, Allahabad, 1942: Richard Symonds, “The Muslims 
and Indian Nationalism,” chap. Ill of his The Making of Pakistan, London, 
1950. PP- 38-48. These are written, respectively, by a non-Muslim non-Con- 
gress Indian, a Muslim Indian-nationalist, an India-oriented Westerner, a 
British official, a non-Muslim Congressman, a Muslim Leaguer, a Pakistan- 
oriented Westerner. See also Smith, op. cit.. Part II passim and esp. the 2nd 
(London) ed., pp. 231-34 and chap. 5; cf. further below, chapp. 5 and 6 of 
the present work. 


75 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

an Islamic state, and those whose nationalism is explicitly Muslim 
but rather in content than in form. It would, however, be an over- 
simplification to identify these major trends simply with the three 
major parties: Nationalist, Nahdat al-Ulama, and Mashumi. The 
existence of these illuminates rather than defines what is develop- 
ing. In fact, as in other areas, most nationalists are Muslims, and 
vice versa. Most Muslims are Muslims socio-politically. Within the 
Muslim divergencies, and between the Muslim groups and the 
Nationalists, there is difference rather than conflict — a difference, 
most Indonesians sense, to be resolved rather than a conflict to be 
fought out. The fact that the parties worked against each other 
in the first elections (1955), and with each other in the first 
government (1956), is significant. 

In other areas, one or other of these differences of degree but 
similarity of substance is also to be seen. Irani nationalism is sig- 
nificantly Shi'i, sectarian. In Arab nationalism one striking ele- 
ment is the identification of Arabism with Islam. And so on. 
Nationalism, for Muslims, is everywhere a Muslim nationalism. 
As within Indonesia, so across the Muslim world, one could ar- 
range the groups in a series according to the degree of formality 
and emotion with which this relationship is recognized and em- 
phasized. At its most explicit, the community is not only Muslim 
in composition but becomes also Islamic in form, or at least in 
name: the nation is identified by its Muslim members as itself 
religiously significant. This is the case with the Islamic Republic 
of Pakistan. Yet even when the nation is not a group symbol of 
the faith, it is still the home of the faithful. To this, even Turkey 
is no exception. It would stand at the other end, but not outside 
the series. 

Turkish nationalism is explicitly lay. Nonetheless, only a Muslim 
group is involved; the few Christians or Jews in the country are 
not considered Turks. Loyalty to the group is still to an exclu- 
sively Muslim group, as it has always and elsewhere been. The 
flare-ups in 1955 have illustrated the fact that Turks too can be 
bitter in their repudiation of non-Muslim elements.®® 

It is true that the Nationalist Party in Indonesia, as also Egyp- 
tian nationalism of the al-Liwa’ type, has made a point of including 
Christians; and the speeches of numerous political leaders have 

8BFor the anti-Greek rioting in Turkey of September 6-7, 1955, see “Riots 
in Turkey,” The Middle East Journal, Washington, 9:435 (1955). 


19 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

recognized the minorities’ role. But this is a type of nationalism 
that has everywhere waned, if not failed. Nowhere in the Muslim 
world (except perhaps in Indonesia?) do Muslims feel that a non- 
Muslim member of their nation is “one of us.” And nowhere do 
the minorities feel accepted. 

Indeed, in many instances there is very serious trepidation. A 
great many Muslims are genuinely unaware of the insecurity and 
apprehension of their non-Muslim minorities. Many do not see 
the problem: it simply does not occur to them that non-Muslims 
would expect to be included in the group along with them.®® 
Others content themselves, though they do not content the minor- 
ities, by a serene assurance that “Islam treats minorities well.”®’’ 
In any case, no Muslim gxoup has cut across a Muslim society for 
a nationalist one; has substituted nationalism for Islam. The 
Turks have perhaps come closest to apparently doing this. Yet 
even their extreme case illustrates rather than contradicts the 
argument. For in abandoning a wider Muslim loyalty for Turkish 
allegiance, they have not replaced Islam with a quite new group- 
ing. Rather, they have taken a part for the whole — as in effect, 
though less explicitly, the Pakistanis and Arabs and Iranis and 
Indonesians have also come close to doing. 

The fourth consideration regarding Muslim nationalisms, then, 
is their relation to pan-Islam. The Muslim’s feeling for his total 
community is well-known. We have previously noted the deep 
religious base on which this rests — how the central concepts of 
Islam give spiritual significance to the group, and strengthen the 
human tendencies to stress a closed society and to identify it with 
the religious one.°® It is a negative aspect of this that we have just 

Cf. Pierre Ronclot, “Islam, Christianity, and the Modern State,” Middle 
Eastern Afjairs, New York, 5: 341-45 (1954), esp, p. 342. 

E.g., at the Annual Session of the All India Muslim League, Delhi, April 
*943- a bme when there was major confusion as to what would be the 
situation of non-Muslims if a Pakistan were established, Jinnah simply assured 
them that a resolution ensuring them safeguards had been passed, and that 
the history and Prophet of Islam gave “the clearest proof that non-Muslims 
have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously” — cf. Smith, 
op. cit., 2nd (London) ed., p. 287 at ref. 104, This sort of remark is repeated 
widely. 

08 Cf. above, chap. 1, pp. 18-19. The tendency towards a closed society, and 
that towards a religious society, and even the tendency to identify the two, 
are universal; as the sociology of religion and general sociology carefully 
attest (cf. Emil Durkheim, Les Formes elemeniaires de la vie religieuse, Paris, 
1912; Henri Bergson, Les Deux souixes de la morale et de la religion, Paris, 

80 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


been noting, the virtual absence among Muslims of any “we- 
feeling” that includes men not of the faith. On its positive side 
it has two expressions: one, to give added intensity to any social 
grouping of Muslims, strikingly operative in producing Pakistan; 
secondly, to reach out in aspiration towards a social grouping of 
all Muslims. The former strengthens every Muslim nationalism. 
The latter is pan-Islam. 

The two are different. But they are not essentially in conflict. 
They can become on occasion practical alternatives, as when any 
Muslim or a body of Muslims must choose whether to give prior 
loyalty to one particular section of the Islamic world, or to the 
whole. They can even come temporarily into conflict, if the inter- 
ests or apparent interests of the part conflict with the whole. 
Equally, they can be or seem to be complementary, or stages in one 
larger process, or aspects of one whole; the regeneration of Islam 
throughout the world may be seen as something to be practically 
attained in manageable sections. The chief or first contribution to 
the mundane resurgence of Islamic society as a whole that Indo- 

1932; Joachim Wach, The Sociology of Religion, London, 1947; etc.). In the 
West a large number of competing tendencies have developed. Probably 
Islam stresses the identification more than any other world religion, though 
not more perhaps than the Hindu in some of its aspects, but for precisely 
this reason “Hinduism” is not usually regarded as a world religion. 

On the level of pure religious thought, die Hindus are the group who have 
gone furthest in interpreting religious diversity, in making room in their 
religious philosophy for the fact that other peoples have other faiths, The 
Semitic group, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, have gone least far; that is. West- 
ern civilization and Islamic are the two most intolerant on the religious plane. 
But the Hindus, with their caste system, negate their intellectual breadth by 
a social intolerance that is the most rigid in the world, Christians and Muslims 
may officially believe that the outsider is going to Hell after he dies (an 
insolent doctrine, which they will have to abandon), yet they are both quite 
happy to shake hands with him, entertain him at a meal, and treat him on 
a level of social equality. Official Hindu teaching may accord him equal 
status in the next world, but in this world treats him as “unclean,” with a 
contempt and distance that are equally insolent, and can be more obtrusive. 
All of us have a great deal to learn in this matter. 

The Chinese, who in the past have attained the greatest degree of both 
theoretical and practical compatibility in religious matters (though at the 
cost of taking religion much less seriously), have recently become Communist, 
thereby joining the ranks of those who damn the rest of the world, and 
insist — in their case with armed violence — that every society must conform 
to their one pattern. 

‘Co-existence’ is a matter not only of political but religious and cultural 
necessity. 

81 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


nesians can make is, they feel, the strengthening of that society 
in Indonesia, that is the strengthening of Indonesia. Also, other 
Muslims can in fact help Indonesia in this in so far as they have 
first succeeded in regenerating and strengthening their own 
societies. It is only a few Muslims here and there®" who disagree 
with the modern consensus that the rehabilitation of Islam 
throughout the world is taking place and ought to take place in 
terms of local rehabilitations. The pan-Islamic vision today is 
essentially the envisaging of each of the Muslim nations or com- 
munities — the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, 
etc. — individually regenerated, revitalized, prosperous, and strong. 
Such a vision adds to the particular nationalisms of each region 
only the hope — or the presupposition — that these would all 
cooperate in friendly mutuality.™ 

Europe, composite of many nationalisms which virtually dis- 
rupted the erstwhile unity of Christendom, may perhaps be in 
process today of transcending them in some new kind of larger 
loyalty — under the pressure of the external threat of Russia, and 
the growing awareness of Asia and Africa (and perhaps America?) 
as differentiation. Similarly the Islamic world may transcend but 
not negate a multi-national vitality in a supra-national brother- 
hood. At least, such is the dream. 

Pan-Islam is, and ahvays has been, primarily a sentiment of 
cohesion. It is not cohesion itself; or any institutional or practical 
expression of it. The unity of the Muslim world is a unity of 

One of the few significant Muslims advocating a political unity of the 
Islamic world, and even he somewhat obliquely, has been Cliawdhrl IChaliqu- 
z-Zaman, president for a time (1949-50) of the Pakistan Muslim League. He 
made a tour of other Muslim countries during that time to urge his view; 
perhaps the rather discouraging reception that he received led him to relax 
his thesis somewhat. He held that an ‘Islamic state' could not be established 
in Pakistan as but one segment of the Muslim world; it must by definition 
be pan-Islamic. Cf. his brief pamphlet. Conception of a Quranic or Islamic 
Stale, Karachi, n.d. [c. 1950?]. 

’“The locus classicus for this view is now the expression of Iqbal; “For the 
present every Muslim nation must sink into her own deeper self, temporarily 
focus her vision on herself alone, until all are strong and powerful to form a 
living family of republics” (Sir Mohammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of 
Religious Thought in Islam, 1944 ed., Lahore, p. 159). A comparable concep- 
tion was formulated by Jamalu-d-Din Afghani, despite the prevalent view 
that his concern was political unity; see his “al-Wahdah al-Islamiyah” in 
al-'Urwah al-Wulhqa, the collected ed. of Muhammad jamal, Beirut, 3rd ed., 
i 35 i/i 933 > PP- 146-57, esp. the paragraph beginning "La altamis . . .” pp. 

155-56. 


82 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

sentiment. Attempts to activate it into concrete form, to express 
the unity on political or other levels, have in modern as in earlier 
history broken on the rocks of restive actuality. Jamalu-d-Din 
Afghani reasserted it, but the political expression that it found, 
in Ottoman plans of Abdul Hamid, was, to say the least, unfortu- 
nate; and the failure was stark. The Khilafat movement in India 
also proved perilously romantic. Nonetheless, except in Turkey, 
the sentiment persists. Though it has been dormant, it remains 
strong.''^ 

It is worth noting that this ideal of an integrated Muslim 
brotherhood, comprehending all the faithful in a united social 
grouping, has from the first been a compelling but an unrealized 
dream. It was deep in the religious consciousness of pristine Islam, 
and has retained its force. But it was the first major Islamic ideal 
to be in fact shattered by history. Within a very few years of the 
Prophet’s death, the unity of the group was broken, and parties 
of Muslims went to war with each other. The Muslim religious 
consciousness was shocked profoundly by this; the rift opened at 
the Battle of the Camel (36 a.h.) has never yet been healed. And 
from the intellectual problem posed in the recalcitrant fact that 
the integrity of the faith was thus being negated by fissiparous 
behaviour of the faithful, Muslim theology arises.'^^ Subsequent 
history did not remedy but rather elaborated and ramified this 
disunity. In classical times there was a brief period of what has 
been looked back upon later as not too unreasonable an approxi- 
mation in practice to the ideal; but presently that too disinte- 

■^iThe sentiment finds expression, lor example, in the 1956 Constitution of 
Pakistan, where we find among its “Directive Principles of State Policy" a 
clause 34 that reads, "The State shall endeavour to strengthen the bonds of 
unity among Muslim countries” (as well as to promote peace, goodwill, etc., 
“among all nations”). More concretely, the Government of Pakistan sponsored 
an International Islamic Economic Conference, which convened first in 
Karachi, 1949, and has remained in being; the Government of Egypt sponsors 
an Islamic Congress, Cairo, 1953- ; etc. One may note also such private 

moves as the organizing of the Mu’tamar-i ‘Alam-i Islami/World Muslim 
Conference, Karachi, 1949- . Its energetic secretary, Mr, In'amullah Khan, 

was also Chief Organizer of the International Assembly of Muslim Youth, 
Karachi, 1955- 

^2 Theology {’ilm al-kalam) was inaugurated in Islam by the Mu'tazilah. 
For the view that this group originated in a political issue, and that their 
famous position regarding the ''manzilah bayn al-manzilatayn” was originally 
a political solution, see the fundamental article of H. S. Nyberg, al-Mu‘TAziLA, 
in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden, i934' 

83 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 


grated. Through most of its centuries the Muslim community has 
in fact been fragmented. Nevertheless the ideal has remained, and 
has retained its warm attractiveness until today. 

The Turks in our day have abandoned the sentiment because 
it has seemed sentimentality: an emotion that could not be acted 
upon, and indeed that interfered with the practical task of making 
their own segment of Muslim society strong. 

The real problem, for Mu.slims, of pan-Islam is not that it con- 
flicts with nationalism. As a sentiment it does not in practice 
conflict with the sentiment of nationalism, as we have seen; the 
two loyalties can corroborate each other. What it conflicts with is 
tangible reality. It is one more instance of the divergence between 
theory and practice in modern Islam. 

It is not, however, an instance to which much attention has 
been given; except by the Turks, who rejected rather than solved 
it. Their rejection shocked the Muslim world; the explicit repudi- 
ation of the theory and sentiment of unity was much more drastic 
than the actual repudiation in practice in many instances, such as 
the previous Arab revolt against the Ottomans, the present Af- 
ghani-Pakistani friction, and so on. Other Muslims, unwilling to 
accept or to countenance the Turkish decision, have not them- 
selves seriously come to grips with the issues involved; have not 
attempted a theory that would do equal justice to the facts but 
more justice to the sentiment. 

This is one more instance of the Turks’ boldness in being ready 
to modify even the central convictions and feelings of traditional 
Islam in their severe adjustment to the realities of modern history, 
their practical grappling with the task of how to make their society 
strong. Their honesty is more important than other Muslims have 
recognized; though perhaps those others’ dream of a wider brother- 
hood is, for all its current romanticism, also more important than 
the Turks have grasped. The Issue between them has not been 
formulated on either side, let alone a solution essayed. Unfor- 
tunately there has been no religious discussion between Turkish 
and other Islam since the divergence. 

This fact in itself, and the entire matter of Turkish Islam’s new 
orientations, raise questions for pan-Islam, religious and other, 
that have not yet been faced. 

To summarize, the modern Muslim world has accepted and 

84 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

espoused with fervour those aspects of nationalism that are rele- 
vant or contributory to the historical rehabilitation of Islamic 
society, and compatible with Islam’s central precepts. It has ac- 
cepted only superficially, or briefly, or not at all, those aspects 
that would interfere with or distract from the practical task of that 
rehabilitation. And except for the Turks, and then to only a 
limited degree, it has not accepted those aspects that would run 
counter to traditional Islamic loyalties. 

Apologetics 

The next matter for our consideration is apologetics: the 
endeavour to prove, to oneself or others, that Islam is sound. An 
appreciation of this is altogether basic to any understanding of 
recent Muslim interpretation. For an almost overwhelming pro- 
portion of current Muslim religious thinking comes under this 
heading. Most books and speeches on the faith by those within it 
today are defensive. 

They try to champion rather than to understand, to buttress 
rather than to elucidate. 

This fact in its far-reaching ramifications is fundamental in 
Muslim-Western misunderstanding, and also in the internal de- 
velopment (or lack of it) of modern Islamic thought. Neither 
Muslims themselves nor Western observers of the Muslim world 
have usually understood the situation at all fully. A great many 
Muslims simply take apologetics for granted and do not under- 
stand the alternative, let alone the need for an alternative. A great 
many Westerners simply take intellectual analysis for granted and 
do not understand apologetics, let alone the Muslims’ need for 
apologetics. 

Much of the apologist literature is addressed, at least formally, 
to the West. Further, much of it would appear, at least on the 
surface, to treat Islam’s relation with modern problems. Yet it is 
precisely the apologist quality of this writing that most effectively 
frustrates Western appreciation of modern Islam; and, more 
serious, most effectively stands in the way of a genuine Muslim 
wrestling with modern religious difficulties. 

For the Indian scene, the content of the liberal apologetic has 
been examined by the present writer, in its defence of Islam in 
relation to science, civilization, progress, feminism, peace and the 

<55 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

liberal values generally.'^’' The situation has been remarkably 
parallel in other countries. 

The “defence” of Islam may be analysed roughly into a three- 
fold orientation: against attack, against unbelief, against West- 
ernization.’’* The three, of course, overlap: the differentiation is 
purely interpretive. The apologetes have set themselves to answer- 
ing the direct assaults on Islam of Western critics, which espe- 
cially before the First World War were numerous and often 
caustic — attacks in the name of Christianity, rationalism, liberal 
progress, or the like. The West today has little inkling of how 
mordant and sustained was its earlier denigration of Islam. Sec- 
ondly, the apologetes have endeavoured to check a tendency to 
disloyalty among their own community, especially its educated 
youth. These, like educated youth throughout the world, have 
seemed liable to abandon their faith under the pressure of modern 
living and modern thought, and simply to drift. Thirdly, they 
have felt the need to ward off the tendency of the same Muslims 
to adopt new and un-Islamic ways and even values (chiefly “West- 
ern,” or “modern,” according to one’s interpretation; latterly also, 
but much less. Communist). 

It is this into which liberal thought, after its first promise, 
chiefly was transformed. Not to re-think Islam, but to re-think its 
defences. Even in Amir ‘AH, the most effective illustration of 
Islamic liberalism, the defensive note is clear. He was primarily 
the advocate defending the cause of Islam before the bar of West- 
ern opinion. His work, and that of lesser men, have served equally 
to defend it in the minds of Westernized Muslims who showed 
signs of losing their religious faith. 

The output of the apologetes has not been creative or dynamic. 
Yet it was satisfying. It served to soothe the conscience of those 
many thousands who chose to live or found themselves living 
Westernized lives, and yet would have been unhappy at “aban- 
doning Islam.” Or it aimed at making them unhappy at the 
thought of abandoning it. This served an important secondary 
function, for it called back to Islam those members of the West- 
ernizing party who might otherwise have drifted from the faith. 

We have already remarked that Islamic liberalism was “per- 

’■* Smith, op. cit., part I, chap. s. 

^*The paragraph that follows presents ideas some of which show an in- 
debtedness to F. Rahman, op. cit. above at ref. i. 


86 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

missive,” allowing a Muslim to be liberal. It also allowed a liberal 
to be Muslim, to stay within the fold. 

Indeed, this increasingly became the primary and avowed ob- 
jective of ostensibly liberal Islamic thought and writing. It not 
only allowed a liberal to be Muslim; it more and more invited, 
insisted. A growing number of Muslims, appropriating the new 
outlook less fully than the liberal leaders and at times only super- 
ficially, and moving much less far from the inherited tradition, let 
loose a spate of writing devised to corral allegiance to that tradi- 
tion in a swiftly modernizing world. Work after work has appeared 
in the vast effort to convince apparently vacillating semi-skeptics 
that their loyalty to Islam must remain intact. 

Socially and historically all this has been of great immediate 
significance. Intellectually, however, the price paid has been enor- 
mous. And the indirect social and historical consequences accord- 
ingly are vast. We have had occasion elsetvhere to consider some 
of the metaphysical and pragmatic issues arising from the question 
of intellectualism in modern Islam.'^® The basic disruption of 
apologetics is that it has diverted the attention of contemporary 
Islamic thinkers from their central task — the central task of all 
thinkers: to pursue truth and to solve problems. A lack of integrity 
always leads to disintegTation; and any failure of intellectual in- 
tegrity in a society raises the threat of disastrous intellectual 
disintegration. The Muslim world, including its intelligentsia, has 
hardly recognized what a responsible, crucial role its intellectual 
class plays in the present crisis; and how far the future of Islam 
and of the Muslim community depends on the ability of the intel- 
lectual to face, understand, analyse, and solve the new issues that 
confront them. 

In so far, accordingly, as thinkers and writers have succumbed to 
the apologist tendency, there is very serious danger. For the func- 
tion of reason has then not been seen as that of ascertaining new 
truth and solving new problems — and particularly, not religious 
truth or religious problems. They have turned to an interpretation 
of Islam, presumed or explicit, according to which the solving of 
problems, spiritual, moral and social is the function of revelation, 
of Islam. In classical Islam the intellect was considered an instru- 

75 “The Intellectual,? in the Modern Development of the Islamic World,” 
in Sydney Nettleton Fisher, ed., Social Forces in the Middle East, Ithaca, 
1955- PP- 190-204- 


87 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

ment to explicate what is revealed. In modern times, this rational 
system has seemed obsolete to some; and the intellectuals’ only 
duty is seen as that of proving the faith (unexplicated, even unde- 
fined) to be valid. This attitude would be less damaging to a com- 
munity in less strenuous times, with fewer new and stringent 
problems desperately needing solution. 

Yet at any time there is danger in a tendency to view Islam — or 
any religion — not as an imperative that places on man the responsi- 
bility to strive, but rather as a system that relieves him of that 
responsibility. And many an apologist’s exposition of Islam aims 
at inviting not implementation but applause. 

For apologetics has quickly turned romantic and self-indulgent. 
Defence becomes pretence. Dissemblance is professionalized, and is 
confused with service to Islam. For those who have lost touch with 
transcendence, apologetics becomes the intellectualized self-right- 
eousness of one’s community and its past, its convictions and predi- 
lections. Even at a higher level it regards intellect as subordinate, 
truth as ultimately conformity with and confirmation of one’s 
revelation. It has forgotten that truth is conformity to fact, with 
revelation reminding man of truth’s overwhelming, indeed sacred, 
value, and making vivid something of the appalling consequences 
of any human willfulness in tampering with it. 

These are serious and rather sweeping observations. For we 
believe the matter to be, as we have said, of far-ranging ramifica- 
tion, and altogether basic in modern Muslim thought. For both 
Muslims and outsiders, then, an awareness of what is at issue would 
seem of prime importance. Nonetheless we shall postpone a full 
analysis of it for later consideration. The prevalence of apolo- 
getics is widespread. From Durban to Lahore, from Tehran to 
Jakarta, it has for fifty or more years been appearing in steady 
stream: book after book, pamphlet after pamphlet, address after 
address, on Islam in general and on every aspect of it, its history 
and its achievements. However, it is in the Arab world, particularly 
Cairo, that it has been at its height. And it is in Arab “modernism” 
that it has played perhaps the most integral role. Certainly insight 
into the modern Arab situation of Islam waits on a firm reckoning 
with apologetics. Accordingly we shall endeavour to come to terms 
with it in our next chapter, on the Arab crisis. 

Here, then, we must content ourselves with the generalization 
that throughout the Muslim world a great deal of the energy of 

88 


ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

thinking Muslims has been devoted to the intellectual defence of 
their traditional faith in the modern world. At this theoretical 
level also, as on the practical, the task has been conceived as essen- 
tially that of warding off attack. Islam is seen as having reached 
its modern period weakened and threatened, and the function of 
reason has been understood as that of bolstering it. 

We shall see, in the Arab case, how terribly significant is this 
use of the mind not to solve problems but to prove that really they 
do not arise. 

Dynamism 

The third new element in modern Islam to which we have 
referred is dynamism: the appreciation of activity for its own sake, 
and at the level of feeling a stirring of intense, even violent, emo- 
tionalism. The need and value of this kind of dynamic in a 
Muslim world that had become passive and inert are apparent. 
The transmutation of Muslim society from its early nineteenth- 
century stolidity to its twentieth-century ebullience is no mean 
achievement. The change has been everywhere in evidence. It was 
given poetic expression by the Indo-Muslim Iqbal with an elo- 
quence and inspirational fieriness that are artistically superb. 

But the modern situation can be understood aright only if one 
recognizes how often this dynamic quality has been associated with 
no pattern of control or directional rationale. It can then become 
nothing more than the froth of frenzied ecstasy, or even the irra- 
tional fury of the mob. Iqbal himself lauded passion {’ishq) as 
excellent in itself, and attacked the intellect {’aql), which might 
not only have checked but guided it. It is a deeply disconcerting 
experience to reread his throbbing poems of uninhibited Islamic 
drive in the light of Muslim violence in the subsequent 1947 
massacres.’^® 

Under the impact of this kind of rousing enthusiasm, not only 
does activity become furious but blind; also faith becomes intense 
but contentless.” The work of the apologetes that we have just 
mentioned, was successful in keeping many loyal to “Islam,” as a 
somewhat unidentified concept, who would otherwise have dis- 

78 On the point that in the massacres of 1947 the Muslims were not only 
victims, cf. below chap. 6, ref. 14. Of course, non-Muslims were equally violent. 

77 Cf. Fazlu-r-Rahman, “Modern Muslim Thought," The Muslim World, 
Hartford, 45: 16-25 (i 955 ); also op. cit. (above, ref. 1), esp. p. 867. 



ISLAM IN REGENT HISTORY 

carded the faith altogether; but it was not constructive enough to 
give any framework of solid theology or ethics to that Islam, in 
the place of the old doctrines and the Law which they had aban- 
doned. Their faith was like a balloon, buoyant but empty, and 
liable to explosion. 

In some cases this exuberant but undefined loyalty was given to 
the local Muslim nationalism. This meant that the devotion to 
God that Islam had once inspired and that the ‘modernists’ had 
transferred to Islam, was now offered to the regional Muslim 
community, excitedly but without programme. 

Of late this fervent dynamism has combined with other elements 
in the modern Islamic situation. Although at times it went into 
Muslim nationalism, it could also unite with the zeal to ‘defend 
Islam’; and most of all with the dream and drive of reviving 
Islamic glory and reinstating once again on earth the proud so- 
ciety of Islam’s divine prescription. It has taken advantage of the 
withdrawal of European control, achieved at long last; political 
independence gives the opportunity for this enthusiastic culmina- 
tion of Islam’s resurgence, and is seen as simply a step towards it. 
The dynamism is combined also with frustration: the growing 
and bitter disillusionment over the desperate inability, except in 
Turkey, of liberalism and secularism in the practical realm to 
state a programme and to effect it — and in the realm of thought 
to come to grips with an increasingly disconcerting world. 

The result has been that a growing number of Muslims have 
been turning of late to a series of movements, remarkably wide- 
spread throughout the Muslim world, in some cases of fanatical 
outburst. Even in Turkey this has found expression on a small 
scale, otherwise not significant, in the Ticani. In other countries 
it has not been so negligible: in Iran the Kashani party, in Paki- 
stan the Khatm-i Nubuwat frenzy, in Indonesia the Daru-l-Islam 
movement. One may add the Rizakar in Hyderabad. And one may 
add perhaps also, in some degree, the Ikhwan al-Muslimun (“Mus- 
lim Brethren’’) of the Arab world and the Jama‘at-i Islami of 
Pakistan;^® or at least, if not these movements themselves, then 
the new atmosphere that their self-assertion has encouraged. 
Among these dynamist elements there has been growing at times 
a violent fury that almost rejoices in destruction, a bitter vehe- 

See below, chap. 3 pp. 156-60 and chap. 5 pp. 833-36 respectively. 

90 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

mence in opposition to the West, to local non-Muslims, to Mus- 
lims who disagree with them, and to all outsiders; and a telling 
combination of self-righteousness with lust and power-hungry 
ambition. At their disciplined best these movements are, of 
course, not without positive value; and we shall have occasion to 
analyse one or two in particular regions in our later chapters, 
searching out also the strength of their appeal. Yet for their 
violence and fury, of unlimited potential disaster, their own 
Muslim governments have had to suppress them. 

In striking respects they are sorry representatives of the faith. 
Their emergence is symptomatic of that fundamental malaise of 
Islam in the modern world that we designated in opening this 
chapter. It is symptomatic, further, of the fact that the malaise is 
still unresolved, and indeed is growing. They are reacting against 
the failure of Islamic liberals to satisfy either the spiritual sensi- 
bilities or the practical needs of the modern Muslim world. Yet 
in doing so they represent even more starkly the failure of Islamic 
conservatives. They emphasize rather than overcome the fact that 
Islam has yet to define, let alone take up, its position in modernity. 

The spiritual crisis is aggravated. The development over the 
past century has been very great; changes have been deep. But 
though some problems have been solved, other new ones, more 
baffling, have arisen. We shall study some of them in detail in 
individual areas of the Muslim world, to which we now must 
turn. 

It is time, then, to bring this introductory survey to a close. We 
have seen Islam entering on the modern period of its earthly 
history at a low ebb in its external fortunes and its internal de- 
velopment, and menaced by outside attack. We have seen its 
people turning to remedy the state of lapse: by purifying their 
implementation of Islam, by thrusting back its outside enemies, 
by rousing themselves to a vivid remembrance of its early glory. 
We have seen them undertaking to refashion their societies, bor- 
rowing from the West or introducing from modernity new ways 
and new ideas, and from their own past the inspiration and deter- 
mination to succeed. We have seen them welcoming as much of 
these newnesses as would seem to serve their task. We have seen 
them successfully reasserting their independence in national move- 
ments, and vigorously defending their faith in intellectual en- 
deavour. They have moved far towards acquiring freedom not 


91 



ISLAM IN RECENT HISTORY 

only politically but internally, by substituting activism for passiv- 
ity, their destiny now in significant degree in their own hands. 

Yet this is also the very measure of their dilemma. For in seeking 
to reaffirm Islam in theory but especially in practice, modern 
Muslims have had sufficient success that they now face more 
squarely, and more inwardly, the very problem of their religious 
quest: the relation of Islam to the actual problems and prospects of 
the modern world. 

The question before the Muslim today is no longer simply that 
of why there is a gap between his convictions and the world in 
which he finds himself. It is rather the still more searching one 
as to how, or indeed whether, he himself will or can or should 
close that gap (or bridge it) — between his faith and the world 
which he has now to construct. 





THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


The Arabs are a proud and sensitive people. 

No adequate understanding of their situation today is possible 
unless due weight is given to both these factors. Further, some 
appreciation is needed of how much they have in their past of 
which to be proud, and how much in their present about which 
to be sensitive. 

Moreover the Arabs are, of course, a Muslim people.^ Their 
Islam interweaves with their pride and their sensitivity — as it does 
with all their Arabness; to give the distinctive pattern of their 
current living. Not only is Islam integral to that pattern; also the 
distinctive quality of their modern Arabism is integral to their 
particular version or instance of present-day Islam. Insight into 
the Arab’s contemporary crisis, and insight into the characteristic 
Arab form of the faith today, cannot go but hand in hand. 

In order, therefore, to attain some discernment of the latter, to 
understand religious developments in the current Arab scene, we 
must see these in the full context of Arab glory and frustration. 
History and Islam are here as elsewhere interpenetrant. We do 
not mean that Arab Islam is atypical; on the contrary, the Arabs 
sum up in concentrated intensity the modern crisis of the whole 
Islamic world. Yet they do so in a specifically Arab fashion. It is 
their Arabness that gives poignancy and pith to their Islam. 

The Arab’s pride in being Arab is profound. There are many 
elements in this, some going as far back as the pre-Islamic ideal of 
manly virtue (muru’ah), of which the true Arab is the paragon; 
and the Arabic language, which has always held its people en- 
tranced. To these have been added the great pride in Arabic 
literature; and in the glories of Arab history, the earthly triumph 
of the classic age. 

On this last the emphasis has of late been growing, until it has 

^ Statistically, this is not fully true. In the nation-states that today constitute 
the political existence of the Arab world, go per cent of the population is 
Muslim (calculation based on the figures in Harry W. Hazard, Atlas of Islamic 
History, and ed., Princeton, 1953). In the case of Lebanon, the Christians 
claim an official majority. In general, however, the existence of the Christian 
(and the few Jewish) Arabs plays but a small part in Muslim Arab self- 
consciousness. Cf. also at the next ref. 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

become a supreme mark of modern Arab self-consciousness. The 
Arabs once produced one of the world’s great cultures. The culti- 
vated remembrance of this is fundamental to their condition 
today. 

With most of these matters the religion of Islam is closely inter- 
twined. The Arab Muslim is, like other Muslims, proud of his 
faith: no other religion in the world has been so successful as 
Islam in eliciting a confessional pride in its adherents. However, 
in the Arab’s case this pride in Islam is not separate from his 
national enthusiasm, but infuses it and gives it added point. 

On the personal level, it is Islam that has undergirded and given 
a cosmic context to the individual human dignity that is the 
Arab’s honour. It was the Arabic language which God chose for 
His supreme revelation to mankind; and which anyone must study 
who would clearly know God’s will. It was the Islamic impetus 
that carried the Arabs from their obscure home into historic great- 
ness, in conquest and creativity. Islam gave the Arabs earthly 
greatness; and vice versa, it was the Arabs who gave Islam its 
earthly success. 

The synthesis is close: an identification, at times unconscious, 
of Islam and Arabism. On the one hand, an Arab need not be 
pious or spiritually concerned in order to be proud of Islam’s 
historic achievements. Indeed, he need not even be a Muslim; 
Christian Arabs have taken a share in that pride.^ On the other 
hand, Muslim Arabs have never quite acknowledged, have never 
fully incorporated into their thinking and especially their feeling, 
either that a non-Muslim is really a complete Arab, or that a non- 
Arab is really a complete Muslim. Arab Islam has never given 
much serious thought to either group. It is uninterested in and 
virtually unaware of Islamic greatness after the Arab downfall. 

“Striking examples are Jurji Zaydan (cf. above, chap. 2, ref. 24), and an 
interesting article in a Christian missionary quarterly, Charles Issawi, “The 
Historical Role of Muhammad,” The Muslim World, Hartford, 40:83-95 
(1950), One should perhaps mention also the champion in America of Arab 
nationalism and Arab history, Philip K. Hitti (most noted for his History 
of the Arabs, London, 1937, of which subsequent editions, revisions, abridge- 
ments, and translations have appeared in a steady stream), even though he has 
explicitly seen the Arab past as Arab rather than Islamic, and as a result 
has even been criticized of late by petulant Muslims. The Christian participa- 
tion in Arabism is increasingly complex and difficult. 


94 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

For it, in 1258 (the fall of Baghdad), or for Egypt in 1517 (the 
Turkish conquest), Islamic history virtually came to an end.'’ 

We have seen that this memory of past greatness is characteristic 
of virtually the entire Muslim world in modern times. In the Arab 
case it is typified and concentrated. For them it is heightened by 
nationalism, and intensified by Arab sensibility. The Arabs feel 
more intimately the early glory than do any other Muslim group; 
and feel more tautly the nostalgia. The Arab sense of bygone 
splendour is superb. 

One cannot begin to understand the modern Arab if one lacks 
a perceptive feeling for this. In the gulf between him and, for 
instance, the modern American, a matter of prime significance 
has been precisely the deep difference between a society with a 
memory of past greatness, and one with a sense of present great- 
ness. The one, imaginative and romantic, dreams of the future in 
terms of a reconstructed vision of the haunting past; the other, 
realistic and programmatic, plans for it, in terms of the practice 
of the satisfying present. 

If insight requires an appreciation of this basis of Arab dignity, 
it is utterly incomplete without a further comprehension of how 
severe also has been the modern assault upon it. The second great 
point in today’s Arabism is the degree to which the modern world 
has conspired to undermine its confidence. The attack has been 
relentless upon the very citadels of Arab life. 

The most overt instance of this attack is the sheer and massive 
onslaught of Western imperialism. The guns of British warships in 
Alexandria harbour, 1882, shelling into suppressed submission the 
first major Egyptian attempt, under ‘Arabi Pasha, to redress in- 
ternal misrule; the bombing planes of French colonialism, wreck- 
ing Damascus in 1925 in vindictive overpowering of the Syrian 
aspiration for self-rule; the tanks of British armies crushing the 
gates of ‘Abidin Palace, Cairo, 1942, to buttress a “suggestion” 
that would force upon the country a government agreeable to the 
Allies; these and many another such display of naked, brutal, and 

3 Cf., below, chap. 4, at reff. 3-8. Egyptian writers, if they note at all the 
period in Egyptian history from 1517, think and feel of it as part of the 
history of Egypt, not of Islam. One exception is the brilliant historian Shaflq 
Ghurbal, who is an exception to most of our generalizations on historiography. 
See his study of Muhammad ‘Ali (1769-1849) as a figure in Islamic history. 


95 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

Utterly unanswerable might have burned deep into the Arab soul. 
These have been categorical illuminations of the ponderous fact 
usually more hidden, but constantly operative as a heavy threat 
waiting to be implemented whenever need might arise: the fact 
that rule, the control of destiny, lay with outsiders because with 
them lay power. 

Demonstration of this power has been most vivid in the case of 
military bludgeoning; it has been institutionalized and enduring 
in the case of political control. Both are still in painful evidence 
in the instance of French domination in North Africa, where the 
administration rules, and when it cannot rule, shoots. In most 
other Arab areas, the authoritarian political structure has recently 
at last been broken; but the presence or proposal or at least possi- 
bility of troops persists. For seventy-five years the Arab has got up 
in the morning, has lived his life, has pursued his pleasures and 
liis dreams, always under the shadow of guns — guns in alien, un- 
friendly hands, ready to fire, ready to call in from across the sea 
more guns, ships, tanks, planes, might. Whether this power was 
used (as from time to time it shatteringly was), or was merely 
threatened (as often it cogently could be), or was merely there, 
always the shadow, the shame, the oppression remained. Whether 
terror or insult, provocation or opiate, this bitter foreign power 
has stood, an abiding fact. Any thought about the Arab world 
uncoloured by the vivid imagination of this dominating reality 
is unfruitful, misleading, false. 

Apart even from military and political domination. Western 
poAver has had other manners of imposing its weight. The most per- 
vasive is the economic. The middle class, particularly, is brought 
face to face ivith reiterated instances of Western economic puis- 
sance, to Avhich it may, perhaps very comfortably, accommodate 
itself but which it cannot withstand. Both individually and in 
groups, even at governmental level of allegedly ‘independent’ 
national existence, the Arabs are still subject to political and 
economic pressures from the outside. Such pressures are of vary- 
ing intensity but are often onerous, at times exacting. Perpetually 
adumbrated is the threat of their being potentially overwhelming.^ 

* The Arab world is entwined in an economic net of which outsiders pull 
the strings. During World War II, a situation developed where the ability of 
the Middle East area to eat depended not on its inhabitants but on the 
great powers, who controlled trade, transport, and international supplies 

p6 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

There is even an extended sense in which the concept, or at 
least the feeling, of imperialism or colonialism is carried over from 
enforced control to more subtle influence. This is almost as in- 
eluctable. It is what the French with witty symbolism call ‘Coca- 
Cola-nisation’; and if Europe resents it from the New World, how 
much more the Arabs in large doses from them both. At this level, 
objects and manners and ideas are involved, of alien origin and 
penetrating impetus. And if the power of the foreigner in this 
realm is less compacted and peremptory than in the military, 
political, and economic, yet it is no less intrusive. And some feel 
that it is in the long run no less subversive. It is the insidious 
power, in sphere after sphere of living, of what is non-Arab — 
infidel, unintegrated — to dominate, oust, or suppress the distinc- 
tively or traditionally Ai'ab. 

The Arab increasingly lives in a world that he feels is not his 
own; that he can only partially understand, and certainly cannot 
control. 

(Actually, the whole of humanity lives in this kind of world 
in the twentieth century; all of us are faced with a modernity that 
undermines our past and challenges our survival. But few Arabs 
realize this; most see the novelty as alien, a disruption from out- 
side, and see other human beings — particularly the West — not as 
sharing their distress but as inflicting it.®) 

generally and whose armies consumed great quantities of whatever could be 
handled by local facilities. If these outsiders had not set up and administered 
an organization to meet this problem, a major disruption of the rural economy 
and a total collapse of the urban would presumably have occurred. The psy- 
chological, moral, cultural, and perhaps even religious implications of facts 
like these have not been as carefully thought out as the economic. (For the 
latter, cf. Guy Hunter, “Economic Problems: The Middle East Supply Centre," 
in George Kirk, The Middle East in the War, Survey of International Affairs, 
1939-1946, London &: New York, 1952, pp. 169-93; and Martin W. Wilmington, 
"The Middle East Supply Center: a reappraisal,” The Middle East Journal, 
Washington, 6:144-66 [1952].) 

® Our argument in the present chapter endeavours to illuminate that sense 
of being battered by the world, and of being alienated from their fellows, 
that we regard as basic to tlie modern Arab mind and behaviour. Yet in our 
effort to portray the historical situations that have helped to produce this 
effect (or anyway that live within the Arab consciousness as psychologically 
responsible for it), we do not mean to externalize their plight. In enumerating 
felt difficulties, we are struggling for sympathy with the Arabs not in the 
degenerate and impertinent sense of “feeling sorry for,” but the true one of 
appreciation and understanding. The special quality of the Arabs today lies 
less in the problems with which the world has confronted them than in the 


91 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

The West, or the modern world, not only attacks; it accuses. 
Here again there is both an overt external assault and an interior 
subverting of integrity. On the former score, the West has evinced 
at times a criticism of Arab-Muslim life that is severe, rising on 
occasion to a scorn that is bitter. There has been the standard 
arrogance with which the West confronts all other peoples — the 
‘natives.’ There has been the detailed criticism, whether explicit 
or implied, of social life and personal mores: the assessment of 
‘backward’ peoples, evident even in offers to help. In matters such 
as the shocked reaction to polygamy, this was at its most acute 
half a century ago; today there is more emphasis on low economic 
levels; throughout there has been an indictment of failure to 
measure up to educational, medical, and many other norms. The 
West none too suavely reminds the Arab world of all its short- 
comings. 

Indeed it goes beyond calling attention to those that it can all 
too easily notice. Through its inability to achieve an understand- 
ing by the majority on the cultural place of intangibles, it not 
only fails to appreciate what are the real values, but distorts the 
actual situation to invent shortcomings that are spurious. 

All this, and much else, came to expression in the Zionist issue. 
Here the Arabs were dismayed not only by the West’s generally 
turning against them (we shall return to this) with guns, votes, 
money, methods, and the whole might of modernity. They were 
dismayed also by the reasons that it gave itself for doing so. The 
image of the Arab as an uncouth bedouin, unkempt, uncivilized, 
and essentially unimportant, that was conjured up in order for the 
West to push aside his claims in favour of the Jew’s — this was gall- 
ing. 

However, the arraignment by the West of Arab modernity need 
not be distorted in order to be painful. It need not even be ex- 
pressed. It is not only ill-will or misunderstanding, or even honest 
appraisal, that at times is biting. The accusation is in part the 
sheer fact that the West is there. The Jones’s by simply existing 

attitude with which they confront the world and respond to those problems, 
and most seriously in their attitude to other people. It is perhaps helpful, 
however, to remember that it has been the distinction of the Arabs for cen- 
turies to be one of the most sensitively imaginative of peoples on earth. (On 
the possible relation of Arabic literature to Western chivalry and romanticism, 
for instance, cf. H. A. R. Gibb, "Literature,” in Thomas Arnold and Alfred 
Guillaume, edd.. The Legacy of Islam, London &c., 1931, reprinted 1943, 
pp. 180-209.) 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

engender the distress o£ not being able to keep up with them. 

The Arab world, then, sufEers from external aggression, at the 
level both of deed and thought. It suffers also from internal, sub- 
jective incrimination. The attack is interiorized; and thereby 
gains its anguish. 

It is by Western standards that the Arabs are weak, by imported 
criteria that their self-esteem is undermined. A defeat by superior 
power not only curtails one’s freedom; it also demonstrates or 
reminds one of one’s impotence. Incident after incident seems 
almost contrived to press home upon the Arab consciousness the 
modern world’s insistence in practice and in theory that Arab 
greatness is over. 

The West not only accuses; it betrays. At least, so the Arabs 
feel. One of the crucial elements in contemporary Arab psychology 
is the ravaging sense amongst its Westernizers of having been let 
down. This, too, came to culmination over Zionism and the estab- 
lishment of Israel. The modern West for seventy-five years had 
been bearing down upon the Arab world with what appeared 
increasingly to be irresistible pressure, saying in effect: “Give up 
those antiquated ways, those superstitions, those inhibitions; be 
modern with us, be prosperous, sophisticated. Emancipate your 
women, your societies, yourselves!’’ The theme re-echoed, some- 
times with siren beguilement, sometimes with haughty disdain. 
Many Arabs (like other Easterners) succumbed, or saw their 
children succumb. Yet those who chose this path found that when 
a crisis arose the modern West did not effectively care for its 
converts. It had seduced them from their indigenous loyalties, 
but took no responsibility for them when they needed it most. 
The prot^g^ of the West proved void of protection. 

As a result, the leaders of liberalism found not only their posi- 
tion in society razed, their following gone, but their own confi- 
dence sapped. As a leading intellectual of Damascus said to the 
present writer in 1948, while the Palestine war was in progress: 
"Against the wishes of my family I broke with our tradition, our 
environment, and took up Western culture. I went to Paris and 
for six years I studied and lived there. I adopted Western ways — 
of life, of thought; and Western values. Our old-fashioned critics 
used to say to people like me, ‘You are letting down the Arab 
cause and are betraying us.’ We used to think that they just did 
not understand. Now we wonder if they weren’t right. The way it 


99 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


is turning out, we feel that we have backed the wrong horse. We 
sided with the West; and the West has let us down.” 

In our preceding chapter we have already observed how this be- 
trayal by liberalism has for the whole Muslim world except Turkey 
been internalized as well in the failure of incorporated liberal in- 
stitutions. The Arabs are representative also of this, and have 
intensified it to the point where for some the institutions are re- 
garded as not merely ineffectual but disruptive. In April 1954 the 
streets of Cairo resounded to demonstrations vehemently voicing 
popular protest against reaction, corruption, and parliamentari- 
anism. The present government was swinging the populace against 
its former hero, Najib (“Naguib”), by manoeuvring him into 
the untenable position of apparently championing the processes 
of institutional democracy, which were made symbolic of all the 
infirmity, dishonesty, and degradation of the old regime.® 

The bitterness of Arab disillusionment has gone very, very deep. 
It is illustrated in a charge^ that at ‘Aka (Acre) during the fighting 
in 1948 the Red Cross — symbol and summit, as it were, of Western 
liberal humanitarianism or modern Christian goodwill — discrimi- 
nated in its succour in favour of Jews against Muslims. Not only 
on the battlefield but in the hospital ward, the Arabs saw them- 
selves repudiated as of no account. Whether this particular charge 
is justified or not is essentially irrelevant; in a sense its use would 
be the more revealing of Arab attitudes if it were a misinterpreta- 
tion of the facts. Whether or not the symbol is intrinsically accu- 
rate, what it symbolizes is, unfortunately, all too valid. And what 
it illustrates of the conviction and inner feelings of at least one 
section of the modernists throughout the Arab world is wide- 
spread. It is one example among many of what was perhaps the 
essential shock of the whole Palestine affair: the terrible discovery 
that the Arabs ivere not accepted by the West, were not regarded 
as members of the civilized community. If not more important 

° M.arch 26, 1954. The present writer was in Cairo at the time, and had the 
somewhat eerie experience of seeing come into sharp focus the usually vague 
but persistent Arab tendency to identify the ills of its own society with its 
imported (Western) institutions, in this case elections and the whole formal 
democratic process. The demonstrations were not altogether spontaneous, 
but neither were they ineffective; the fact that such slogans could be launched 
at all was revealing. 

’’ Mustafa KhalidI and ‘Umar Farrukh, al-Tabshlr wa al-Isti'mdr fl al-Bildd 
al-'Amblyah, Beirut, 1372/1953, pp. 24-26; quoting al-Diydr, Beirut, issue of 
July 7, 1948. 


100 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


than the unveiling o£ their own weakness, at least more wide- 
spread and more deeply grasped, this was a fundamental blow: 
the realization that, as they interpret it, they have no friends. 

The Arab is Muslim. We must consider more closely the bear- 
ing of this equation on his recent development. We have already 
spoken of the ambivalence of the relation. This continues. Though 
Arabism and Islam are ultimately different things, yet the Arab 
tends as ever to identify them, at least within himself. He is the 
one or the other as the case arises; or what amounts to much the 
same thing, he is the one and the other at once. However, recently 
there has come to evidence a trend towards greater prominence of 
the Islamic element in Arab consciousness. In the sense of being 
under attack and criticism, of being rejected, the Islamic aspect 
has throughout been present. Lately, his awareness of and atten- 
tion to its presence have grown. In recent literature, in conversa- 
tion, and in practical response, there seems a more marked dis- 
position for Arabs to think of the attack to which they see and feel 
themselves subject as an attack upon their religion. The world 
is against them, they have felt; the world, or at least the West, 
they latterly increasingly add, is engaged on a deliberate vast 
enterprise to disrupt Islam.® 

8 As one stray example of an increasing trend, see under the editorial cap- 
tion Yawmiydt al-Akhbdr in the Cairo newspaper Al-Akhbar for Sept. i6, 
1955: “al-Ta‘assub al-Dinll”, by Muhammad al-TabiT. See also the Introduc- 
tion to the grd Arabic edition (Cairo, 1952) of 'Abd Allah Tnan, Mawdqif 
hdsimah ft ta’rlkh al-Isldm (first published Cairo, 1934; English translation. 
Decisive Moments in the History of Islam, Lahore, 1940, 1943, 1949). Indeed, 
one can see in the successive Arabic introductions (1934, 1943, 1952) an in- 
creasing firmness of the sense of Western antagonism. However, as the author 
states in the latest, ‘‘the basic idea of this book . . . remains the same: . . . 
the perpetual struggle between East and West, Islam and Christianity. The 
reader will see how the Crusading idea has remained for centuries the axis 
of this struggle, and how it has blazed the more vigorously whenever a new 
Islamic outburst of power or revival has appeared. . . .” (p. 4). He goes on 
to make the point that modern colonialism is a new guise of the Crusading 
spirit to crush Islam; an idea that is more and more coming into prominence 
also elsewhere. For example, Muhammad Qutb, Shubuhdt Hawl al-Isldm, 
Cairo, 1954, uses the term sallbl (“Crusader”) for Christian, passim; and even 
al-saltbiyah for Christianity, Christendom, and the modern West. See specifi- 
cally pp. 4ff. where the idea is pressed that the Crusades are still on. This 
writer even insists, regarding the prevalent belief among the educated that 
Islam, and religion in general, are things of the past (cf. below, at ref. 15) 
that this belief has been planted by British imperialism to weaken the 
Muslims {e.g. pp. 4-5). This is not as atypical as one might think. 


lOI 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

The situation that the Arabs have faced has not, in fact, been 
essentially different from that of other Muslim peoples in the 
modern world. It is in the response to the challenge that the basic 
dissimilarity of the Turks has lain. Their reaction, psychological 
and practical, to virtually the same kind of development has been 
radically other; as we shall explore in our next chapter. Of the 
rest of the Muslim world the various sections have reacted in 
ways that are, of course, in each case individual and distinctive; 
yet in significant measure all evince a shared family likeness. So 
far as psychological reception of the situation is concerned, the 
Arabs have differed chiefly, as we suggested earlier, in experien- 
cing it all the more intensely. 

If the Arab instance of Islam, then, continues to be, as it has 
always been, an important instance, it is also true that the Islamic 
element in Arabism continues to be, as it has always been, an 
important factor. It is an aspect in the total situation to which 
the Arabs have good reason to be giving their currently increased 
attention; and to which also outsiders must give their careful heed 
if they are to understand aright. 

It is certainly true that Islam is central within the Arabs’ present 
difficulty. It is even somewhat true that Islam has been a factor 
in the gulf between the West and themselves.® This is not at all 
to subscribe to their interpretation of any malicious intent on the 
non-Muslim side; the growing Arab conviction that the West is 
out to crush Islam. On the contrary, the Muslim world in general, 
and the Arabs in particular, have no grasp of the serious and 
strenuous efforts that the West has been making to try to under- 
stand Islam. Certainly they have utterly no inkling of how ex- 
tremely difficult such understanding is. For it is a fact that 
differences between the great civilizations of the world are both 
subtle and deep. Neither Western culture, on any scale wide 

9 For instance, the gulf has been less deep for Arabs who are not Muslims. 
While it is true that many Christian Arabs have participated deeply in Arab 
nationalism (and even in Islam-tinged Arab nationalism) (cf. above, ref. 2 ), 
it is also true that individual Christian Arabs have been able to understand 
the West in ways that Muslim Arabs have never been able (or indeed tried?) 
to do. Also, Westerners, Western institutions, etc., have usually found — often 
without preconception, and indeed in the American case usually without 
awareness and often with astonishment — that the Arabs with whom they can 
best ‘get along’ prove to be, in fact, of the Christian minority. (This has, 
indeed, sometimes misled Westerners in their dealings with or orientation 
to the Arab world.) 


102 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

enough to be as yet effective, nor Islamic, has recognized of just 
what dimensions the intercultural gulfs are. 

It is one of the novelties of modernity that these gulfs must 
be bridged, that communication and understanding be created. 
In the past, civilizations have got along without such understand- 
ing of their neighbours; either ignoring other civilizations, or 
fighting them. The unprecedented task of our day, of learning 
to live in close touch and even collaboration and indeed even 
large-scale interpenetration with them, demands a creative effort. 
Such an achievement cannot be taken for granted, nor the way 
to it learned without difficulty. 

On the Western side, especially the New World, politicians, 
journalists, tourists, and others have yet to grasp how significant 
and ramified are the differences; and how they can subtly pervade 
every aspect of interrelationship. On the Muslim side there has 
been an inability to realize and even to admit how hard it is for 
an outsider to understand Islamic culture and specifically the 
religion that underlies it. To a Muslim, Islam is completely 
straightforward, clear-cut, logical, and obvious. Misunderstanding 
seems to him appalling and perverse. He does not discriminate, 
and has never formulated, the presuppositions on which the system 
silently rests, and which he takes for granted; the Weltanschauung 
within which the specific doctrines take on meaning. He does not 
know how divergent these presuppositions are from the funda- 
mental postulates of other civilizations. Both he and the Westerner 
have in general still to learn that the great religions of mankind 
differ among themselves in their orientation to the universe not 
simply in giving different answers, but in asking different ques- 
tions. 

It is, of course, a major thesis of this book that an understanding 
of Islam is requisite insight to an appreciation of what is going 
on in contemporary Muslim society. And if, grossly or at all, this 
study fails in that understanding, then this but illustrates our 
further contention that understanding is no facile attainment.^" 

If differences between civilizations are difficult, those in religion 
are superlatively so. Indeed, it is rather novel even as a concept 

However, if it fails — or doubtless we should say, in so far as it fails — 
one may confidently presume that it will be taken by many Arabs (and to a 
much less extent by other Muslims outside Turkey) rather to illustrate once 
again the Western attempt ‘to subvert’. 



THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 


that a person, let alone a society, should understand a religion 
other than his own. Yet that is part of the task with which moder- 
nity confronts mankind. That in the Muslim case such religious 
discernment is required not only for spiritual matters but also for 
understanding at the lower level simply of mundane culture is 
not a private conviction of our own. That Islam as a religion is 
relevant to all aspects of life and society, permeating the civiliza- 
tion in a way that religion in the West does not attempt (or indeed 
understand), is a basic and insistent claim of the Muslims them- 
selves. 

, Yet the difficulties in the way of such interreligious compre- 
hension, though they might seem obvious enough in any case, are 
partially exemplified in the fact not merely that Muslims do not 
at all understand the faith of Christians, but that in general they 
do not even know that they do not understand.^^ 

The Arabs, then, are justified in their feeling, though unjusti- 
fied in their complaint, that Islam has been a significant element 
in the alienation between themselves and the West. In the first 
place the West, like other civilizations, has in general still very 
far to go in evolving the new ingredient of compatibility, which 
may well prove indispensable to any group’s survival in the coming 

“There isn’t a single Moslem scholar in all history, so far as I know, 
who has written an authentic essay on Christianity’’ — Charles Malik, “The 
Near East: The Search for Truth,’’ in Foreign Affairs, 30:258 (1952). 

The present writer also knows no book by a Muslim showing any “feel" 
for the Christian position; nor indeed any clear endeavour to deal with, let 
alone understand, the central doctrines. The usual Muslim attitude is not 
to take the central doctrines seriously at all. That is, they do not recognize 
that Christians take them seriously; and tliat however absurd they might 
seem to outsiders (to Muslims they appear both stupid and blasphemous), 
the Trinity, the Deity and Sonship and Crucifixion of Christ, and the like are 
affirmations deeply meaningful and precious and utterly integral to the 
Christian’s faith. The immediate reasons for this failure are the Islamic doc- 
trines on the same topics; we have endeavoured to present as sympathetically 
as possible the Muslim position on Jesus and Christianity in chapter 1 above. 
Muslims therefore have religious convictions for genuinely imagining that 
they know real Christianity better than Christians do themselves. And in 
what then appears to them as the "pseudo-Christianity” of historical and 
personal existence, the faith by which Christians actually live, they have not 
been intellectually interested. 

For a recent and most perceptive discussion of tire need for, and possibility 
of, mutual conversation on the religious level by the most appreciative of 
modern Protestant missionaries, see Kenneth Cragg: “Each Other’s Face,” in 
The Muslim World, Hartford, 45:172-82 (1955). 


104 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

age. In the second place, in the particular case of Islam the West 
has most of all to learn — and to unlearn. History has been such 
that the West’s relations with the Islamic world have from the 
first been radically different from those with any other civilization. 
These two have throughout shared a common frontier — which has 
meant that they have been constantly in contact and often in open 
conflict. China and India were remote, fabulous, virtually un- 
known until the eighteenth century (by which fime the Enlighten- 
ment and cosmopolitanism were replacing religious zeal; and 
anyway the West was much too powerful to be in danger from 
them). On the other hand, Europe has known Islam for thirteen 
centuries, mostly as an enemy and a threat. It is no wonder that 
Muhammad more than any other of the world’s religious leaders 
has had “a poor press” in the West, and that Islam is the least 
appreciated there of any of the world’s outside faiths. Until Karl 
Marx and the rise of communism, the Prophet organized and 
launched the only serious challenge to Western civilization that 
it has faced in the whole course of its history. How serious a chal- 
lenge, how menacing a threat it once seemed is worth recalling. 

The attack was direct, both military and ideological. And it 
was very powerful. To the Muslims, of course, it seems only right 
and proper, something altogether natural and inevitable, that 
Islam should have expanded as it did. Rather different is the 
attitude of the outsider, for whom it was none of these things, 
and at whose expense the expansion took place. It was greatly 
at the expense of the West. At once Christendom lost to the new 
power “the fairest provinces of the Roman Empire,” and was in 
danger of losing that empire in toto. Although Constantinople 
did not, quite, fall to the Arab armies as had Egypt and Syria, the 
pressure was long maintained. And in the second great wave of 
Islamic expansion, Constantinople did fall, in 1453; and in the 
very heart of frightened Europe siege was laid to Vienna in 1529 
as the seemingly inexorable drive continued — and again as re- 
cently as 1683. "^he fall of Czechoslovakia to communism in 1952 
was hardly as alarming in modem times to an apprehensive West- 
ern world as was for century after century the steady westward 
push of this massive, relentless, and repeatedly victorious chal- 
lenge. 

Again, as in the case of communism, the challenge and the vic- 
tories were also in the realm of values and ideas. The Muslim 


10 ^ 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


attack was at the level of theory as well as of practice. The new 
religion based itself firmly on a strident repudiation of the central 
affirmation of the Christian faith, the sublime conviction around 
which Europe was at that time slowly building up its civilization.^® 
The Muslim challenge was flung with vigour, and was sweepingly 
successful in almost half of Christendom. Islam is the only positive 
force that has won converts away from Christianity — by the tens 
of millions. It is the only force that has proclaimed that Christian 
doctrine is not only false but repulsive. 

It is doubtful whether Westerners, even those quite unaware 
that they are involved in such things, liave ever quite got over the 
effects of this prolonged fundamental strife — or of the Crusades: 
two centuries of bitter ideological aggressive warfare.®® 

We recall here this long history of conflict not, of course, in 
any sense to rekindle or at all to justify recriminations. On the 
contrary we simply suggest that the success of those who today 
are hoping or working for reconciliation and understanding should 
not be expected to come either easily or soon. It is possible to 
trace a steady movement over the centuries; this legacy of antago- 
nism in the West began in mediaeval Europe with fear and hatred 
and bitterness, and has gradually given way to mere misunder- 
standing and failure of appreciation. In recent times improvement 
has rather swiftly gathered momentum. Nonetheless, it will clearly 
be some time yet, and will involve continued effort, before the 
estrangement is on any but a small scale transcended in friendly 
collaboration.®* Nor is it difficult to understand that in a situation 
such as the Zionist crisis, the sympathies of the Christian West 

12 Christians have proclaimed, and believed, that Jesus Christ is the Cruci- 
fied Son of God. It is on this that the whole religion turns. See, for instance, 
Qur’an 4:157 for a specific denial that Jesus was crucified; 4:171 and 5:72, 73 
specifically rejecting as derogatory to God the Trinity and Sonship (the 
former passage in particular suggesting the blasphemy of the idea). 

IS Cf. above, ref. 8. In the Arab world, the memory of the Crusades is still 
alive, and has been rekindled by recent developments and is growing. In the 
West the effects have not yet been outlived, though we believe that they are 
palpably dwindling. 

2* It is too early yet to say whether the recent Christian-Muslim Conference 
(Bhamdun, 1954) and its ensuing Continuing Committee on Christian- 
Muslim Co-operation (offices in Alexandria and Washington), are significant, 
let alone effective. Other quieter, perhaps deeper, perhaps more long-range 
signs are not to be ignored. 

106 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

were more effectively won on behalf of the Jews, whose culture 
had been appropriated over millennia within Western civilization, 
than of the Arabs, whose extraneous case had to contend with a 
thirteen-century tradition of conflict. 

Islam, then, as a religion and an historical civilization, has 
played its role in the external aspects of the development that we 
are trying to understand, the plight in which the modern Arab 
world has increasingly found itself. Islam plays a role also in the 
internal course of that development. This is subtle but significant, 
contributing powerfully to the inner crisis of the Arabs. For 
they find Islam under attack in and by the modern world not only 
overtly. The attack is also interiorized, within individual Arab 
minds. It is here that the agony is greatest; and perhaps also the 
danger. 

First, there is the well-known but not simple fashion wherein 
all religion is under attack by modernity. The West is well ac- 
quainted with this phenomenon and has finally learned to take 
it more or less in stride, or believes that it has learned. In the 
nineteenth century, however, the struggle was keen. The notion 
that modern science by its ideas or its prowess, and modern life 
by its enchantment, have made all religious faith untenable or 
unnecessary, would seem universal. Yet at first glance Western 
observers, so intimately schooled in this matter with regard to 
Christianity, have tended to be surprised at how little evidence 
appears, on the surface, of a similar disenchantment with religion 
on the Arab scene; or indeed throughout the Muslim world. 
There is in every Arab city ample illustration of the insouciant 
life of non-belief in practice. Yet the literature of scepticism is 
sparse. There would seem little theoretical expression of secular- 
ism; so little that one is left wondering whether the practice of it 
rests on insincerity. (In that case, it carries with it a guilty con- 
science.) 

However, documentary evidence of a widespread belief that 
religion is passe is in fact afforded and in quantity, by the apolo- 
getic literature for Islam (which we shall be considering pres- 
ently). Book after book, pamphlet after pamphlet, written in 
defence of the faith, begin by noting how general in the Arab 
world is the drift from religion. They deplore how facilely Arab 
youth have adopted Western rationalist or other arguments against 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

the validity of faith.^® One may assume that these complaints are 
exaggerated (else they would suggest a situation in which religion 
is less popular than in, say, modern America). Yet the very exist- 
ence of this defence literature indicates that the problem exists 
and is acute. 

It exists and is acute not only for society but for the individual. 
If there are many who have drifted from the faith, there are many 
others in the no-man’s land of uncertainty where- the drift is in 
their own spirit, with the currents of belief and unbelief in in- 
decisive swirl. 

This is more significant and more damaging, both personally 
and socially, than was the similar situation in the West for two 
reasons. First, the secularist attack is foreign. It is a great deal 
easier for a person, and a great deal healthier for a society, to find 
an inherited tradition questioned by new values that his or its 
own people have evolved, than by values insinuated by one’s sup- 
posed enemies. To admit, even to oneself, that one has been 
wrong always takes courage. The sense of insecurity is vastly 
greater if the criterion is alien. The Westerner who finds his 
religion no longer tenable is being challenged to adopt a differ- 
ent set of his society’s values. The Arab in a similar condition 
is being challenged to abandon his society’s values. In a civiliza- 
tion as singly religious, Islamic, as the Arab’s has been, to abandon 
Islam is seen as betraying one’s community. 

The second reason is related — is, in fact, another facet of the 
same. The absence already noted of positive secularist statement, 
in the midst of much secularist behaviour, is significant. It means 
that life is lived on an un-Islamic basis not on principle, but on 
absence of principle. The Arab world has had no Tom Paine and 
no Voltaire. The West has had a non-religious tradition of solid 
substance, cherished by some of its noblest spirits, and expounded 
with coherence, conviction, and force. We are thinking here not 
of the secularism that breeds cynicism or corruption, but philo- 

Some illustrative examples: "The ‘educated’ [or ‘cultured’] in their crisis 
are bewildered, and have thought that this Islam has come to an end, its 
purposes are exhausted” — Muhammad Qutb, op. cit. p. i; cf. ref. 8 above. 
"That cultured skepticism, born of caustic modern knowledge, that has found 
its way into men’s hearts” — Farid Wajdi, Majallat al-Azhar, 18:3; cf. at ref. 
187 below. "The materialist school of thought, which has spread with the 
speed of fire in dry twigs. . . .” — id., op. cit., 9:419; cf. at ref. 119 below. 
And so on, again and again. 

108 



THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 


sophic secularism at its best — the development o£ the Graeco- 
Roman side of Western culture, rather than the Palestinian- 
Biblical. Western secularism at its noblest is a positive system of 
values, based ultimately on Greek ideas of justice, order, reason, 
and humanity. Or it is simply the positive concept that values 
should be independent, not tied to religious faith. The Turks, 
alone among tl;e Muslim peoples, have acquired such a positive 
secularism. It was given intellectual expression in the work of a 
Ziya G6kalp,^“ and given operative expression in the formal deci- 
sion of the community to proceed on this basis. Arab secularism, 
by contrast, lacking the Greek or any philosophic basis, and lack- 
ing the Turkish practical commitment, tends to be simply an 
absence of all values, of life unsupported by conviction. 

Both personally and socially, then, the attack on Islam is a thrust 
pushing the Arab into the void.^^ 

Cf. above, chap. 2. ref. 30. 

We believe it difficult to exaggerate the importance of this, even though 
so little attention has been paid to it. On the contrary situation in Victorian 
England, Trevelyan has the following passage, which will perhaps be of 
interest in connection with the above two paragraphs: 

"The older and more definite religious beliefs that meant so much to these 
men were being successfully attacked by the ‘Agnostics’ of the same period 
[i 870’s and i88o’s]. Yet even the 'Agnostics’ were Puritan in feeling and out- 
look. . . . The fame and authority enjoyed by George Eliot’s novels were 
largely due to the fact that they were taken by many as ‘re-stating the moral 
law and process of soul-making, in terms acceptable to tbe nationalist agnostic 
conscience.’ Carlyle’s prophetic utterance in Sarlor supplied a vague but 
emphatic creed to many, including Darwin’s militant champion tluxley, who 
defied the clergy at the famous meeting of the British Association in Oxford 
in the spirit of Luther at Worms. Leslie Stephen’s and John Morley’s pas- 
sionate refusal to compromise with dogmas they had come to disbelieve, 
breathed the unyielding spirit of Seventeenth Century Puritanism. Leslie 
Stephen had once been a clergyman, and so bad J. R. Green, the popular 
liberal historian. In literature and thought it was a period of quasi-religious 
movement away from religion.’’ 

Trevelyan then goes on to cite G. M. Young: "In its many-sided curiosity 
and competence, its self-confidence and alertness, the Late Mid-Victorian cul- 
ture is Greek. In its blend of intellectual adventure and moral conservativism, 
it was really Athenian." See G. M. Trevelyan, English Social History, New 
York and London, 1942, pp. 563-64; the illustrated edition of Ruth C. Wright, 
vol. 4, p. 104. 

One may note further that the Christian missionary onslaught, for instance, 
though severely felt and resented, is deemed to have the tendency to under- 
mine the Muslims’ own religious convictions — ^but there is no suggestion that 
Christian ones are being imparted in their place. This point could be illus- 
trated also from the modernist editor of the Azhar Journal, studied below. 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

, Still there is more. The more basic threat to Islam is not the 
challenge of ideas, from whatever source. It is the challenge of 
history. We have said that Islam is a faith expressed not primarily 
in a system of ideas, but in a system of life, a community and its 
ways. Islamic society is endangered not only from without but 
from within, and not only its existence but its essence. There is 
an attack upon Islam by events, considered not from outside but 
from within its own development; the subversion of Islam, as it 
were, by Islam’s own contemporary history. One may blame the 
British or Americans for their injustice. One may inveigh against 
the ideas that they impose.^^ But how comes it that they can wreak 
such injustice, can get away with their ideas? How comes it that 
the Islamic world is impotent, and backward? These things ought 
not to bel But — far back in one’s mind, quite unformulated; re- 
pressed, yet felt — is the question: if they ought not to be how 
comes it that they are? That “the Muslims are backward” (the 
phrase is freely used in current Arab writing)^® is ultimately a 
contradiction in terms, if Islam means what it purports to mean. 
The British army in the Canal Zone was resented by the Egyptians 
not only as a remnant of foreign domination (though we must 
never get too far away from the realization of that crushing power), 
not only because it reminded them of their own decline. It was 
rejected also because it symbolized the dilemma of their souls. 


who makes no distinction between the attack specifically on Islam and the 
drift from all sense of spiritual values (cf. below, ref. igi). Nor in the ma- 
terialism that he so much deplores is the dialectical variety in evidence. 
Lately this has changed somewhat. In general, however, the profound feeling 
of a tendency on the part of modern Muslims to desert Islam is an awareness 
not of a people’s substituting new persuasions for old, but of a drift into a 
worldly unbelief. 

1® Of course ideas are not imposed, but accepted. So also tastes. The present 
writer has observed — for instance, in Damascus, November 1948 — editorial 
tirades against the obscene and disruptive West for producing the salacious 
cinema that crowds of young (and not-so-young) Damascenes were paying 
their admission fee to see in a local cinema-house. We also deprecate with 
scorn the generally execrable taste and degenerate morality of Hollywood. 
But what is really sorrowful is not that Hollywood produces such films, but 
that our society likes them. The Damascus editors did not ask why Damascenes 
chose to see these shows. Imported immorality can corrupt only those whose 
sense of values is already weak. 

Cf. the famous essay of Shakib Arslan, noted above, chap. 2, ref. 25. 
Another instance, in a minor pamphlet picked up on the streets of Cairo: 
Muhammad ‘Abd Allah al-Samman, al-Ma'anl al-Hayyah ft al-Isldm, Cairo, 
1372/1953, opening sentence. 


XIO 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

It was not only that their country was oppressed, but that their 
ideals were negated. Similarly, especially for the Asian Arabs, the 
Palestine war. For a proud and sensitive people who are Muslim, 
it is intolerable to see Islam the plaything of infidels. 

The Islamic tradition was formed on the principle that destiny 
is in the hands of God. It is Allah who controls events. The 
Mu'tazilah and others argued the point: some Muslims have felt 
that, under God, destiny was in their own hands. The recent 
bitterness was that it seemed to be neither God nor the Muslims 
who controlled events but the British or Americans — the domi- 
neering, discourteous, brash infidels who suddenly pushed them- 
selves noisily on the scene. 

Scientific discoveries in the nineteenth century were of crucial 
significance for the Christian. Theological and interpretive ques- 
tions of fundamental and at first ravaging import were raised, 
questions that worried and teased the church, shattered the faith 
of many and set others to a radical rethinking of their affirmations. 
Christians have been surprised that Muslims have not seemed to 
face the same kind of problem. There has been no great ‘evolution 
controversy’; no T. H. Huxley debate; no large crisis in theology. 
Yet the Muslim disarray and turmoil have been no less. Only, 
the spiritual crisis has taken its own Islamic form. The question 
has reached the heart of the faith along a practical rather than a 
theoretical route. The battle has been not of ideas but of politics; 
relief of distress is sought not in a revision of doctrine but in a 
redressing of history. 

The Christian saw emerging out of science new thoughts and 
concepts — which seemed in conflict with his previous ideas and 
doctrines. The truth of science seemed different from, and in some 
ways truer than, the truth that he had from God. For the believer 
the collision was painful; the problem posed, acute. In the case 
of Islam the significance has been different. The Muslim has been 
troubled not by questions of truth so much, as by questions of 
power. He saw emerging out of science a new technology and in- 
dustrial might, new social processes and patterns among an alien 
people. These seemed in conflict with his previous patterns and 
institutions. The power of science, of the West, seemed different 
from and in some ways more powerful than the power that his 
community had from God. 

In accord with God’s command and with His blessing, Muslim 


III 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

society once erected a great civilization; but now this is seen as 
being attacked, without and within, and perhaps superseded, by a 
new power based not on God’s ordinance or on any divine sanc- 
tion. A new society has come to birth before which the society 
of God seemingly cannot stand; a new society more successful, and 
perhaps in some aspects even more attractive. Islamic backward- 
ness implies that something has gone wrong not only with the 
Muslim’s own development but with the governance of the uni- 
verse. 

For many Arabs the problem is no longer that the Islamic dream 
is unrealized. Religions can live with their dreams unrealized; this 
is part of the religious genius. With its dream unrealized, the 
Muslim world has been living for long; the Arabs, throughout the 
centuries of their Middle Ages and until now. One may live a 
straitened life and feel that in His good time God will actualize 
the ideal community, will make the dream come true. One may 
awake to a strenuous life and with one’s fellows strive to actualize 
it, with God’s favour to make it come true oneself. But it is harsh 
to wake to the fact that aliens, without that favour, have in some 
ways actualized it while one slept. 

The challenge is no longer simply that the dream is unrealized. 
The new challenge to the Arab world is in the fear of the recogni- 
tion that the dream may be invalid. 

By this we do not mean a questioning that it may not be true. 
This would be un-Islamic, in every sense; not least, in the im- 
portant sense that Muslims do not generally approach religion 
in such intellectualist terms. The spectre is rather that it may not 
be efficacious. The problem is theological not in a dogmatic sense 
but because in Muslim conviction power comes from God, and 
yet here were the British empire, the Dutch empire, the French 
empire growing daily more powerful than Islamic society. In 
this view, the recent disquiet has been not only that the Muslims 
were too weak or too erring to implement the aspirations of their 
faith. It has been rather the fear that Islam itself even in its ideal 
form, even if implemented, would — the very idea is blasphemous 
— be too weak in the world of today. 

Here, then, is the Islamic plight of modernity, as deeply felt by 
the educated Arab. A century and more ago awareness spread of 
the need to defend the faith against external encroachment and 
internal decline. Today, despite progress in many directions, the 


II2 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

attack upon Islam is seen as more rather than less severe: an attack 
from without and from within; not only from outside the society 
by foreign enemies and inside it hy subversion and betrayal, not 
only in one’s outer environment and within the recesses of one’s 
own mind, but also an attack on the external, historical phenome- 
non of Islam as an existential reality and as well upon the inner 
power of its essential truth. 

Response to Attack 

This sense of attack illuminates much of the Arabs’ recent 
Islamic development. It would doubtless be going too far to see 
all their activities even on the religious plane wholly as reactions 
to this attack or to this feeling. Of course other factors have en- 
tered in. Nonetheless, in almost every facet of those activities such 
reaction can be discerned. In many it is very powerful indeed. 
There would seem to be very little Islamic history in the modern 
Arab case that cannot be better understood if this aspect of it is 
firmly borne in mind. 

The modern Arab is first and foremost a person defending 
himself and his society against onslaught. 

This is obvious enough and need not detain us in the case of 
nationalism, which has been in large measure quite simply a 
reaction against attack, the “negative” nationalism of our previous 
chapter.'^'’ It is exceedingly powerful. Its fierceness and intensity, 
though they have surprised some observers, are readily under- 
standable in terms of the massive and overbearing and penetrating 
quality of the assault. 

Any growth in Arab strength that is not accompanied by a 
growth in confidence and trust has been used and must be used 
in self-assertion, in rejecting outside control or influence. Any 
failure of outsiders to recognize the profundity and momentum 
of this drive, the supreme need to push back encroachment, is 
bound to lead to miscalculation and deception. Any move that 
further weakens any Arab sense that the outside world is reliable 
and friendly is bound to increase defiant antagonism.^^ 

20 Above, pp. 74-76. 

21 Such as the apparently calculated and certainly flamboyant rebuff of July 
1956 over the Aswan dam project. Washington (19/7/56) and London (20/- 
7/56) abruptly pulled out from under ‘Abd al-Na?ir (‘‘Nasser”)’s feet tire 
carpet tliat they had invitingly spread out for him, as soon as he had finally 
agreed to take a rather spectacular stance upon it. The present chapter was 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

Similarly understandable is the marked xenophobia which has 
been especially strident in Arab cities, particularly Damascus and 
Cairo, since World War II. This came into an outburst of overt 
expression in the “burning of Cairo” in 1952, particularly in the 
burning of Shepheard’s Hotel, symbol of foreign arrogance. This 
was one activist and extreme expression of the isolationism that 
widely obtains, not simply as a policy but as a mood. The Arabs, 
like most other Muslims, are today’s isolationists par excellence; 
they wish to high heaven that the world would leave them alone. 

The reaction to attack is visible also in other developments. 
We wish to consider particularly two: in the realm of thought, 
and the realm of action — apologetics, and the Ikhwan. 

First, however, in the realm of emotion, one must note that the 
experience of hostility and disruption has in some cases been so 
crushing as to lead not to positive reaction at all but here and 
there to a sort of paralysis of the will, or a distortion of awareness. 
This kind of thing is so familiar in the modern West that it should 
not be difficult to understand. The chief difference in the two 
cases is between a predominantly social and a predominantly 
individualist orientation of the person, in responsibility, in 
triumph, and in sorrow. The modern West has laid stress on 
individualism, the Islamic World on the identification of the 
individual with his society. Further, in the Arab world it is the 
social personality that has been wounded by outside attack and 
inner conflict. In the West the total society is expansive and by 
outward standards successful. It is rather the individual within 
it, caught in its maze of competitive struggle, and in modernity’s 
subversion of meaning and of patterns of value, who feels isolated, 
rejected, and helpless before a hostile environment. Unable to 
cope with the overwhelming perplexity and aggression of con- 
temporary life, he (by now a standard and recognized type) is 
driven by anxiety and a loss of inner values to a suspecting of 
others’ hypocrisy and yet a desperate craving for their approval. 
He weaves between himself and the world a defensive pattern 
of concepts which inhibits an objective viewing of reality and 
inhibits also a constructive effort towards genuine goals.^^ This 

written before that disastrous event and the Suez Canal crisis that ensued, 
but in the meantime nothing has happened to suggest modification. (Cf. at 
ref. 204 below.) 

22 The above is sincerely based on personal observation, yet in part also 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

type of person is increasingly prevalent in the modern West; it 
would be surprising if a comparable phenomenon were quite un- 
known in the Arab world. It would be going perhaps too far to 
insist that this sort of defensive anxiety is constantly characteristic 
of that world’s modernism. Yet it would seem unsympathetic not 
to understand it when it appears. 

The onslaught against which Arab society is defending itself 
has not seemed so minor as to have failed in every case to affect 
the emotional foundations of its life; to influence not only be- 
haviour but the central predispositions to behaviour, and even 
to perception. It is the total Arab personality that is involved — 
and deeply so. 

An ability to understand tvhat the Arab thinks and does turns 
on an ability to understand how he feels about the modern world. 

Apologetics 

Apologetics is the ideological expression of the reaction against 
attack. With Arabism and Islam both threatened, its aim is to 
prove that they are both Good Things. It is the attempt to develop 
a system of ideas that will serve as protection against insecurity. 
The literature cannot be adequately understood except in terms 
of the function that it performs, and of the overpowering psy- 
chological need for this type of defensive thinking. In a world 
of uncertainty and aggression, it is written, and is read, to meet 
a very deep demand. 

So far as the Arab aspect is concerned, it is chiefly a question of 
historiography: to demonstrate the brilliance of one’s past. On 
the Islamic side, there is both this historical glory and an almost 
unlimited range of other examples of its excellence. 

In a sense, therefore, the literature of defence would seem 
almost straightforward. One might be tempted to suppose that 
something so obvious wmuld call for little comment. What could 
be more natural than that a people under attack should justify 
itself, and that those whose faith is questioned should rally to its 
defence? What more carping than to seem to indict this reaction; 
as it were, to begrudge an almost overwhelmed society its legiti- 
mate defence? 


summarizes sections of Karen Homey, Our Inner Conflicts, New York, 1945. 
A book of this kind, the present writer has found, helps him both to under- 
stand himself as an individual and to understand the modern Arabs as a 
group. 

II5 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


Indictment or begrudging would indeed be intolerable. Our 
point is rather a recognition of the difficulties that ensue. For on 
further examination it becomes apparent that this defensive litera- 
ture, and the intellectual and psychological attitude that it in- 
volves, in fact raise some of the deepest questions of Islam’s place 
in the modern world. Here again, as in other instances, the Arabs, 
out of the emotional depth of their concentrated experience, speak 
at an enhanced level of intensity for all the Muslim world (except 
the Turks, one section of whose society also passed through this 
stage, but who seem now decisively beyond it). 

In our previous chapter we have already briefly commented on 
apologetics generally, seeing it as a part of the recent world-wide 
attempt to defend Islam. We suggested there that both Muslims 
themselves and Western observers would find it rewarding to give 
the issue more attention than it has customarily received. For this 
defensive device turns out to aggravate difficulties rather than to 
solve them. Despite appearances, the drive to interpret the world 
in ways emotionally satisfying is inherently disruptive. As the 
psychologists well know, and in a slightly different fashion, also 
the classical Muslims,’*® it cannot satisfy, but rather betrays those 
whom it ensnares. Some of the deepest distress of the present 

Cf. al-Ghazzali, cogent as usual; “People who seek knowledge are of three 
types. There is the man who seeks knowledge ... for the life to come; he 
seeks thereby only the Countenance of God [as we might say, seeks knowl- 
edge for its own sake, seeks Truth]; . . . such a man is saved. Then there is the 
man who seeks it for the help it gives in his transitory life . . . and at the 
same time is aware of that ultimate truth. . . . Such a man is in jeopardy . . . ; 
yet, if he is given grace to repent . . . and [if he] adds practice to theory, . . . 
he will join the ranks of the saved. ... A third man has been overcome 
by Satan. He has taken his knowledge as a means to increase his wealth, to 
boast of his influence and to pride himself on his numerous following. By 
his knowledge he explores every avenue which offers a prospect of realizing 
what he hopes for from this world. Moreover he believes in himself that he 
has an important place in God’s eyes because with his garb and jargon he 
bears the brand and stamp of the scholar despite his mad desire of this world 
both openly and in secret. Such men will perish, being stupid and easily 
deceived, for there is no hope of their repentance since they fancy that they 
are acting well. They are unmindful of the words of God most high, ‘O ye 
who have believed, why do ye say what ye do not do’? (Q. [sc. Qur’an] 6i, a).’’ 
(The translation is that of W. Montgomery Watt, The Faith and Practice of 
al-Ghazdll, London, 1953, pp. 88-89. The original will be found in Abu fjamid 
Muhammad al-Ghazzali, Biddyat al-FIidayah; text available to us, the ‘Is^ 
al-Babi al-Halabi ed., on the margin of id., Minhdj al- Abidin, Cairo, n.d., 
pp. 5-6.) 

Between Karen Homey (cf. previous ref.) and this, what is there to choose? 

I16 



THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 

situation is for those who have trusted themselves too exclusively 
to this apologetics. Their difficulties cannot be understood, let 
alone overcome, without an appreciation of the insidious distrac- 
tion. 

Let us consider first the question of history. It appears at first 
disarmingly innocuous. We have said that the Arabs are proud — 
and of course have good reason to be proud — of their classical 
history. It has been one of the achievements of the Arab world 
in the modern period to revive among its people the sense of the 
past, to bring into some delineated awareness the previously almost 
subconscious memory of historical achievement. It has revived or 
reinvigorated the historian’s craft among a people who once 
practiced it with critical capacity. Vis-Tvis the West, the neglect 
of the Arab participation in the total movement of the Mediter- 
ranean world from Greece to modernity has in part been righted. 
The sheer uncovering of new data has also been important. 

All this has been creditable, and the emphasis upon positive 
qualities of the classical period has been understandable enough. 
It is understandable even in universal human terms whereby each 
of us tends to see his own past in a somewhat favourable light. 
It is all the more natural in the specifically Arab case with the 
cruel sense of modern decline. Present “backwardness” is offset 
by past achievement. 

The process turns disruptive only when, as has sometimes 
happened, the grip of the need to defend is tightened to the point 
where this delight in greatness, this compensatory self-satisfaction, 
becomes the compulsive cause rather than the honest result of 
historical reconstruction. Historiography is then designed almost 
explicitly to nourish and to support one’s predilections. It seeks 
not to analyse or to understand the past, but to glorify it; that is, 
to glorify oneself. The purpose is not investigation but aggrandize- 
ment, not intellectual accuracy but emotional satisfaction. 

As we have said, this is understandable in terms of the mordant 
feeling of contemporary decline. The more acutely is felt the in- 
adequacy of one’s present, the more one insists on the splendour 
of one’s past. In the Muslim case, the crucially important religious 
factor is added. For those dubious of Islam as a sufficient or effec- 
tive ideal today of the good life in community, the endeavour is 
pushed hard to show that in the past it was spectacularly so. The 
more insecure one’s faith, the more imperious the drive to argue 


777 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

for this. It becomes seemingly indispensable to one’s relation both 
to the modern world and to eternal destiny that this conclusion 
be maintained — and even that any adverse evidence be repressed.®'* 

This treatment of history plays its practitioners false in two 
ways. The attempt to glorify rather than to understand of course 
fails to understand. Further, it succeeds in glorifying only tem- 
porarily and on very costly terms. Both matters have serious 
consequences in perpetuating the situation out of which they arise. 

The glorifying is of necessity self-defeating; it leads to a closed 
circle. For in the end it rests the case for confidence not on history 
but on an interpretation of history. One’s self-esteem which the 
world of reality threatens to undermine is made to rest increasingly 
on what is in effect the work of one’s imagination. Accordingly, 
inner assurance is further weakened, since it is more than ever 
cut off from outer support. Any failure of courage to face the 
historical picture in full and critical frankness, “warts and all,” 
means a further, more imperative drive to construct and to defend 
idealizations. The more one writes and reads books in order to 
bolster a conclusion predetermined by one’s desires, the more 
one has to write and read books so designed. The more Arab 
greatness is simply something proven by modern Arab books about 
the past, the less possible it becomes to read criticism for the 
sake of what illumination it may purvey — let alone to produce 
self-criticism for the sake of realistic constructive action. For any 
adverse material in the actual situation that might be allowed 
into consciousness would seem a further attack upon one’s posi- 
tion, a further threat to one’s confidence or faith. One therefore 
becomes afraid of the facts, since they have the power to under- 
mine one’s version of the facts. The very endeavour to overcome 

To anyone familiar with modern Arabic historical literature, illustrative 
examples will come easily to mind. One fairly innocuous one which is by no 
means extreme and indeed might be said to be almost commonplace: an article 
entitled (characteristically) "The Achievements of the Arabs in the Science 
of Geography,” Majallat al-Azhar, Cairo, 5:567-73 (1934). This purports to be 
a translation of the German orientalist Brockelmann. Although it is, in fact, 
based rather squarely on that scholar’s information (Cf. Carl Brockelmann, 
Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, 1st ed., Weimar, 1898-1902, I. 225-30, 
475'77)' h h rather an essay paraphrasing and treating the original with 
freedom, adding a few eulogistic paragraphs by way of introduction (5:567, 
the two opening paragraphs: it is not indicated that these are not from the 
original), and omitting remarks such as the original’s opening one that Arab 
geography grew out of Greek (Brockelmann, op. cit., I, 225). 

ri8 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

one’s insecurity in the objective world by glorification, ends by 
making one the more insecure. 

Secondly, the neglect of sheer historical understanding is in 
itself costly. A careful and realistic historical analysis of any situa- 
tion may well prove an important element for ameliorative action. 
To recognize a problem clearly, and to see how it came about, 
are two manifestly major steps towards solving it. To grasp an 
ideal clearly, and to have an analytic awareness of the objective 
conditions in and by and against which it must be or has in the 
past been realized, is an important step towards putting it now 
into practice. Any attitude or trend, therefore, that neglects or 
stands in the way of such clear recognition and understanding is a 
significant obstacle to progress. 

Those Arabs whose intellectual realism is starkly honest are 
accordingly in a much stronger position for constructive advance 
and real gi'eatness than those many whose enmeshment in his- 
torical apologetics has diverted them from present issues or past 
inquiries to past utopias. The psychological need for historical 
idealization is, as we have seen, great. The practical as well as 
intellectual need for historical understanding is even greater, but 
has been receiving scant attention. 

As one illustration among many one might take the case of 
science. The market abounds with treatises exhibiting, sometimes 
glibly, sometimes as a result of great labour and research, the 
Arab (or Muslim) contribution to science in general or to this 
or that particular branch. At a more superficial level of factual 
knowledge, the case is emphatically urged that Western science 
is essentially a borrowing from the Arab (Islamic) world. At a 
more abstract level, the thesis is ardently presented that Islam 
as a religion, far from being in conflict with science, encourages 
and nourishes it. 

Much of this, though complex, is true. More important, all of it 
is satisfying. Yet equally important, little of it is effective. For 
there has been, along with this voluminous output of applause, 
extremely little investigation by Arab minds of the actual factors 
leading to the development of early science in Arab classical cul- 
ture, the role that it played in the society, and the objective rela- 
tions, either social or intellectual, over the various centuries 
between the scientists and the religious authorities.^® Great atten- 
One can hardly document an absence of writing; but perhaps there is 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

tion is called to the fact that Arab science existed. Little thought 
is given as to just how it arose, or what it implied. And so far as 
the present writer is aware, there has been virtually no study at all 
of the obviously crucial question as to how or why Arab science 
declined.^” 

The Arab writing of history has been functioning, then, less as 
a genuine inquiry than as a psychological defence. Most of it” is 
to be explained primarily in terms of the emotional needs that it 
fulfills (and is designed to fulfill). This is further illustrated by 
the avidity with which Western praise of past Arab greatness is 
culled and exploited. Professor Gibb speaks for all Western stu- 
dents acquainted with the literature (and some Muslims^®), when 
he calls it “disconcerting” to find “modernists in Egypt eagerly 
seizing on any pronouncements by Western writers, no matter how 
ill founded, uncritical, or partisan, which chime in with their own 
sentiments or flatter their pride,” and speaks of the general “imma- 
turity” of modernist historical perspective.-® 

However, these do not show simply poor judgement. They are 
evidence, rather, of a judgement held captive by the emotions, 
and of the desperate search for approval into which these writers 


value in citing a typical instance of what is produced in this realm, indeed a 
work that is representative of the Arab attitude at its best, one might say. 
This is ‘Umar Farrukh, 'Abqariyat al-'Amb fl al-'Ilm wa al-Falsafah, Beirut, 
1945: and ed., 1953. This has recently been made available in English: 
Omar A. Farrukh, The Arab Genius in Science and Philosophy, trans. by 
John B. Hardie, Washington, 1954. Dr. Farrukh holds a Ph.D. degree from a 
German university. 

If this last question were treated, one might expect that in the hands of 
most writers it would be a priori in order to prove that the decline was not 
really the Arab’s or Islam’s fault, rather than genuinely to inquire as to its 
true causes or its course. 

Not all of it, of course. We trust that our study will not give the im- 
pression that we are impervious to such excellence as some historical work 
has undoubtedly displayed. We have already mentioned Shaflq Ghurbal (cf. 
above, ref. g); it is invidious to single out names, but such historians also as 
Flusayn Mu’nis in Egypt, ‘Abd al-'AzIz al-DCxrl in Iraq, and others must be 
mentioned with respect. These men themselves would probably recognize 
the general point that we are endeavouring to make. For a documented in- 
dictment of modern Arali historiography by an Arab writer who is not a 
Muslim, see Nabih Amin Faris, “The Arabs and their History,’’ in The 
Middle East Journal, Washington, 8:155-62 (1954). 

2 s Among the present writer’s Turkish and Indian friends are some who 
have themselves noted and commented on the kind of point to which Gibb 
here refers. 

H. A. R. Gibb, Modern Trends in Islam, Chicago, 1947, P- ^^7. 


120 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

and their readers have been impelled. Western writing on the 
Arabs, as on Islam, is customarily read by modern Arabs and 
appraised, not in terms of whether its statements are accurate or 
its contributions illuminating, but whether they are laudatory or 
adverse. Western writers thus suffer for the aggression of their 
society, since anything they say is first suspected to be part of the 
attack. The price paid for long-standing hostility is the inability 
to communicate. 

Gibb relates the failure of objective historiography to certain 
developments within the classical and especially mediaeval Islamic 
tradition itself;““ but stresses that the ‘modernists’ have made the 
situation seriously worse.'*’- He concludes the most authoritative 
and perceptive analysis of Islam’s (primarily Arab) modern trends 
that has appeared, with the suggestion that the single most signifi- 
cant step that could be taken by the intellectual leaders of the 
religion today is the attainment of a true coming-to-terms with 
historical thinking.®^ 

Let us turn, then, from this question of historical apologetics. 
The next matter, the apologetics of Islam, is still more serious. It 
is of deep consequence both for the Arabs (and other Muslims 
throughout the tvorld who widely resort to it) and to Islam itself. 
In some ways the defensive interpretation is the most serious 
intellectual development within the religion in recent times. It is 
serious because it involves what men of faith, Muslim or other, 
have always known to be deeply irreverent and also essentially 

^0 Ibid., pp. 12411. 

^'^Ibid., p. 127. 

32 Op. cit., concluding pages. He makes the point that “The way to the 
reconciliation of Islamic orthodoxy with the modern movement of thought 
lies not, as is so often supposed, through compromise with the hypotheses 
of modern science. The scientific habit of thought has never been lost for 
Muslim scholars, though they may very likely need to revise their scientific 
method and to broaden out as well as deepen their grasp of it. The way is to 
be found rather in revaluation of the data of thought through the cultivation 
of historical thinking” (p. 126). We also, above, have urged that science 
does not pose for Islam intellectualist problems in a way comparable to what 
has happened in Christendom. In a sense this present essay is but an elabora- 
tion and amplification of Gibb’s observations. In another sense, with our 
stress on the psychological and the historical elements, it involves a shift of 
emphasis, from what we would regard as Gibb’s still slightly too theological 
and intellectualist interpretation. However, all of us working in this field 
find, as R. Mitchell has indicated, that the more closely we study the modern 
Islamic world, the more we find ourselves simply “writing footnotes on Pro- 
fessor Gibb’s survey.” 


X2I 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

destructive: the attempt to make use of religion for human pur- 
poses. Islam, ideally, in its central nature has been the person- 
ality’s and society’s sincere dedication of itself to what it knows 
of the purposes of God. Islam for the apologetes is in danger of 
becoming rather an instrument in the personality’s or society’s 
pursuit of its own purposes — in this case, of self-esteem and emo- 
tional security and of position in the world. 

If Professor Gibb feels that the way to advance for Muslims lies 
through the 'ulama', the custodians of religious thought, taking 
history seriously, one might venture also to feel that that for the 
modernists lies essentially in their taking Islam seriously. There 
can surely be no progress in Muslim society, no real solution of 
its modern problems, unless the leaders of thought and action 
show a truer understanding and more genuine reverence for the 
essentially religious message of their faith. 

These statements might at first seem presumptuous, or odd. We 
must therefore elucidate rather carefully what we have in mind, 
and especially what we mean by apologetics. It is our observation 
that understanding and reverence for Islam, as for history, have 
been inhibited by the turn of mind that seeks primarily to defend, 
that is impelled by a desire to shield either the religion or oneself. 
We contend, further, that this losing touch with the heart of the 
faith has worked to the grievous detriment of both persons and 
society. Yet this losing touch has been in large part unconscious; 
it is in the name of Islam that the apologetes have disrupted their 
own and others’ faith. 

To clarify our position we must take some pains to illuminate 
apologetic modernism, and make clear the radical difference be- 
tween this and the more truly religious Islam of traditional piety. 
Fortunately, an effective illustration of both is provided by the 
journal of the Azhar, the great Islamic centre in Cairo. This 
journal was edited first (1930-33) by one of the Azhari ‘ulama 
(classical scholars), and subsequently by a vigorous representative 
‘modernist.’^® The nobility of the former’s position, the essential 

The journal, published monthly in Cairo from al-Muharram 1349/May- 
June 1930, first bore the title Nur al-Isldm; from vol. 6 no. 6 this was changed 
to Majallat al-Azhar. The first editor was al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Khitfr (al- 
Khadir?) Husayn. 

Muhammad Farid Wajdi (1875-1954) assumed editorship with vol. 4 no. 5, 
Jumadi al-Ulii, i352/August-September 1933, and held the ofiice until 1952. 
The present study is based on an examination of the journal from the be- 


122 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

vacuity of the latter’s work, exemplify all too cogently the grave 
loss involved in the drift from an integral Islam. 

Our choice of this particular work is, we repeat, for illustrative 
purposes. The journal has an importance of its own, certainly; 
and the second editor, Muhammad Farid Wajdi, has been also a 
writer of independent significance.'’^ However, our point is not 
to discuss individual interpretations but to consider them in so 
far as they are instances of general trends. It is clear enough that 
the first editor and his school represent the classical Islamic tra- 
dition in the modern Arab world.®® Wajdi’s particular ideas®® are 
a little out of date, but not his attitude. His interpretation of 
Islam and his general approach to the world will, we believe, be 
readily recognized by modern Arabs and by their friends as a fair 
example of the orientation of modernist ideology. And the con- 
trast afforded with the previous editor’s position serves so strik- 
ingly to clarify the basic points at issue that it seems rewarding to 
give the matter extended examination. All this is in addition to 
the fact that, although no voice can be said to speak officially for 
Islam whether traditional or modernist, the official organ of the 
Azhar®^ can hardly be dismissed as insignificant. 

ginning through vol. i8 (November 1947). For a full descriptive and analytic 
study of the journal, see the present writer’s doctoral dissertation, ‘The 
Azhar Journal, Survey and Critique,” 1948, in the library of Princeton Uni- 
versity, Princeton. In the remainder of this chapter, references to the journal 
are made by volume number and page, without further identification. 

Si See Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteralur, Supple- 
mentband III, Leiden, 1942, pp. 324-25. Some of his writings have also been 
translated into Urdu, by no less a person than Mawlana Abu-l-Kalam Azad: 
Musalmdn 'Awrat, 6th ed., Lahore, 1953. 

We do not mean representative of that tradition in the average, but 
rather at its best. Also, there is the disturbing possibility to be kept in mind 
that, just as Wajdi (cf. next ref.) is an old man formed by and reflecting an 
earlier atmosphere, so al-Khidr ijusayn, also an old man, may at heart repre- 
sent a type of traditional piety that is somewhat dying out (in the Muslim 
world as it has in the West). The present writer does not know how many 
young men nowadays are coming up with the same essential honesty, dignity, 
humility, and grace. 

so Especially his replies to scientific materialism, and his interest in spirit- 
ism, indicate his era, and have a turn-of-the-century flavour. In the light of 
this and the preceding reference it should be noted that the argument built 
on this journal here presented reflects essentially the situation fifteen years 
ago more accurately than that today. However, the situation today is under- 
standable only in terms of that which produced it, and this has not, so far 
as we are aware, been depicted or analysed previously as is here attempted. 

sr That it is official appears from the statement of each cover and title-page: 

12 ^ 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

Islam, in the conception of al-Khidr Husayn, the first editor, is 
a true and right religion which has been posited, once for all, 
complete and fixed. But that religion is a transcendent Idea. Man’s 
knowledge of what it really is, is both progressive and fallible; 
and man’s implementation of it is always imperfect. Consequently, 
authority and worth pertain to Islam per se; not, in the form of 
an authoritarianism or an idealization, to any particular Muslim’s 
pronouncements, either past or present, nor to any particular 
mundane embodiment. What has been handed down, therefore, 
is not inviolable. What has been so far achieved is not sacrosanct.’® 
He exhibits no nostalgia. His interest is not in the past but in the 
timeless, and its relation to the present; in the vision of an ideal 
Islam and in the practical implications of this for today. 

That he is an idealist runs throughout his writing, an idealist 
both philosophically and morally. Truth is for him a supramun- 
dane form. The problem is to ascertain and expound it; all else 
then follows. The ideals are to him so clear and so compelling 
that he takes idealism for granted. It is undeclared throughout, 
yet he unconsciously assumes it also on the part of his readers. 
This colours all his endeavours, and gives the very words he uses 
a meaning different from what they have from the pen of another 
type of thinker. Moreover, he pays his readers the Socratic compli- 
ment of assuming that they can recognize goodness when they 
see it. 

The idealism is, as we have said, not only metaphysical but 
moral, pragmatic. To him, exposition is instruction; both are 
exhortation. He asserts it as the primary duty of himself, of the 

“Issued by the rectorate ol the Azhar” (vols. 1-17; beginning with vol. i8, 
the statement reads, "Issued by the rectorate of the Azhar Mosque”). The 
fact is given also as a reason for changing the name to Majallat al-Azhar: the 
old title "did not distinguish it from journals issued by private persons” 
(6:440). The status is also mentioned editorially: "The journal Nur al-Isldm, 
which is the official mouthpiece of tlie Azhar” (6:10a — cf. Gibb, op. cit., p. 
136, note 3). 

He expressly rejects any claim of infallibility for the journal (3:3). It is 
written, he points out, by human beings who are liable to error; even the 
great 'ulamd' of old were not inevitably right (loc. cit.). He does not appeal 
for a presentation of or return to the past. His vision for the journal upon 
this score is that it “accepts of what is new whatever is a good idea or a good 
practice, and rejects of what is old whatever is a wrong idea or bad praetice; 
so that when people hasten to a novelty that is unprofitable, it is preserved 
by its inherent stability; and when they congeal around something that is 
not advantageous, it is content that they be no longer on its side” (loc. cit.). 

12 ^ 




THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 

journal, of the Azhar, of the ‘ulama’ generally, to expound: to 
make Islam accurately known. In practice, his own writing, on 
issues large and small, is to instruct. This takes the form of en- 
deavouring to delineate a matter in such a way that the reader 
will be enabled to see for himself what in it is good and what bad 
— that is, what ought to be done and what avoided.-''® 

Because of this dynamic idealism, then, instruction is not separ- 
able from exhortation. To elucidate a moral ideal is with him 
the essential element of advocating it — on the unformulated 
premise that goodness is inherently attractive; or at least that the 
Muslim is committed to the will of God once he knows what it 
is. The proportion of his contributions that fulfill a moral purpose 
is large; and their moral tone extraordinarily high. This is far 
from being a superior moralizing, a preaching in any offensive 
sense. It is saved from that by many things, perhaps the chief 
being that he is holding up moral ideals under whose judgement 
he himself is the first to stand, and to realize which his sincerity 
is clearly drawing him also. The ‘hve must's” abound. The ideals 
of active participation and the fight for social betterment;^® of 
personal politeness, even to enemies, but carefully kept free from 
the nearby vice of flattery and pretence^S' of scrupulous intel- 
lectual integrity,*® of self-respect and modesty, to be discriminated 
from the nearby vices of, respectively, pride and self-abasement*® 
— these and other ideals are portrayed with genuine reverence and 
an obvious response of his own to their moral pressure.** 

An example is his discussion entitled “Muslims’ Copying of Foreigners” 
'(3-375-82). This, after an acute, sensitive, dignified and essentially liberal 
analysis, ends by saying that the article is for those who will listen, “ — perhaps 
they may find in it the true difference ascertained between imitation of for- 
eigners that is commendable and that that is to be rejected” (3:382). Similarly 
his lucid, probing studies on al-sunnah wa al-bid'ah (2:539-46, 611-18): these 
expound these terms, show where the ambiguities lie and where the ‘ulama’ 
have not “ascertained” (this recurs as one of his favourite idealist expressions) 
the presence or degree of reliability; and indicate the moral obligation. 

Passim. Specific examples: 1:163-68; 1:243-48; 3:663-69. 

*12:147-54. 

2:235-43 (cf. below at ref. 79). 

« 2:467-73. 

** He relates the obligation of morality not only to himself but to his group. 
He writes as one of the ‘ulama’-, and writes with colleagues of that profession 
in mind. Just as with almost every subject that he takes up he draws practical 
moral inferences as to what can and should be done about it, so almost every 
problem he relates practically to teaching. “It is, therefore, the duty of him 
to whom the upbringing of youth is entrusted, to strive . . .” (2:473) is a 

J25 


THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 


Regarding the extant religion of the community — the tangible 
Islam of contemporary history — he recognizes a need to purify, 
not merely to defend. One must combat internal deviations and 
apathy as well as external criticism.*® The deviations from (true) 
Islam which his writings would serve to combat include both 
those to the right and those to the left. Not only the secularism 
of the educated,*® who feel that they have gone beyond Islam, is 
under fire; but also the superstitions and degenerate Sufi practices 
of the masses, who have not caught up with it.*^ 

We have mentioned his frequent use of “we must.” Indeed it 
is in our judgement crucial that one of the things that differentiate 
him from the later editor is the extent to which the verbs “should,” 
“ought,” “must” occur throughout his writings. In modernism, 
on the other hand, there is no imperative. Al-Khidr Husayn’s 
social concern is keen and persistent. He repeatedly calls attention 
to the low standard of living — economic,*® political,*® educational®® 
and other — in Muslim countries, for which he shows a genuine 


typical way for him to start the concluding sentence of an article. Again, when 
he writes against living as a recluse (3:663-69), the recluse that he has in mind 
is the scholar. 

It is clear from these and other indications that he is writing principally 
for the 'ulama’. One of his editorials (1:163-68) is on the part that the ’ulamd’ 
must play in social reform. Another (1:723-33) is on the role of the Azhar: 
a vigorous article showing concern felt not only for the religious heritage, 
which it must mediate, but also, and deeply, for the condition of men and 
women (including their political freedom), whom it must serve — so that 
Azharis may be regarded as “men created to strive for social reform to the 
utmost of their wisdom and power” (1:733) [italics ours]. “If the Azhar has 
in the past devoted itself exclusively to scholarly research and ignored the 
ills that were afflicting Muslims in their religious and civil life, certainly now 
it is aroused from such negligence. It remembers its past, and is conscious of 
the loftiness of its position; and has become confident that it has it within 
its power to remedy those ills, and to raise the East to a pinnacle of well- 
being” (1:732). 

*“ 1:5: 3:3: etc. 

**> 1:8511. (on the pagination, cf. the footnote to the page of errata following 
1 : 1 60). 

*’’E.g., his discussion of al-bid‘ah, 2:539-46, 611-18; especially 2:6i2ff. He 
mentions both modernist and superstitious deviations, but the latter pre- 
dominate. The two are, for him, not unrelated: he puts the masses’ distor- 
tions of Islam at the head of a list of reasons why the former fail to appreciate 
the religion’s true worth (uSsff; on pagination cf. preceding ref.). 

*8E.g., 1:247; t: 324 - 25 - 

*® E.g., 1:733; 1:382-87 [second series: Zege 442-47]; 2:69. 

®®E.g., 1:323. 


126 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

concern, and with his usual moral ardour holds up ideals o£ prac- 
tical betterment that demand implementation.®^ Man must strive 
to make real society approximate more closely to the ideal one 
(which Islam proclaims). 

His self-criticism is remarkable. There is not only his personal 
and professional self-criticism in the light of his moral ideals, 
leading on to criticism of the Azhar, and even, in a sense, of the 
extant Law. He brings to bear also a national self-criticism,®^ and 
criticism even of Islamic history. This last is incidental, unpre- 
tentious; he finds it natural to use the history of the community®® 
to provide illustrations of what not to do, as well as of what to 
imitate. The Islam to which he is committed is, in effect, a celestial 
vision, of which the earthly history is but an imperfect expression 
(and in recent times, he admiits, a sorry one).®'‘ He can therefore 
afford to keep his eyes open to defects in that expression — though 
by and large he is, of course, proud of the Muslim past.®® It is 
the man whose devotion is to the Islam of history who must 
romanticize that history. 

There are other instances where he makes use of Islamic history 
to point a moral or to incite emulation.®* On the whole, however, 
throughout his writing and his editing®^ he does not appear 
particularly concerned with the past. His interest is in the actuali- 
ties of today, and in the potentialities of and responsibility for 
tomorrow. 

Defence of Islam is not absent from this editor’s conception 
of today’s needs, and of the functions of the journal. Actually, 
he puts it next after instruction in his opening statement of the 
journal’s objective.®* However, writing specifically setting out to 

Passim. See especially Iiis articles “The Ideal Society in Islam” (1:243-48); 
"The Bases of Community Welfare” (1:323-27). 

®2An example is that he often has the confidence and integrity (both 
wanting under Wajdi) to contrast certain conditions in his own country un- 
favourably with those that he had seen in Germany (1:324-25; S'S 17 ~ 1 ^) W 
way of inciting his fellow-countrymen to emulation. A linguistic discussion 
too, entitled “The Excellence of Arabic” (3:231-44). while it upholds, 
naturally, the preeminence of that language, admits that it has latterly fallen 
behind and suggests practical steps for rehabilitating it. 

'8 An instance (on honesty) is cited below, at ref. 79. 

Examples: the Azhar, 1:724; the community generally, 3:668. 

®®E.g., 2:14; 3:377. 

®«E.g., 2:5-14: 2:683-89; 3:83-91. 

See ref. 59 below. 

®8 1:4. 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


be on the defensive in the usual sense proves in fact rare.^” And 
when it does appear, it is usually®" transformed by the distinctive 
orientation into something quite different from apologetics of the 
sentimental type. For this writer’s dynamic idealism is operative 
also here, and makes a basic difference between his meaning for 
the concept and that of the modernists. 

One illustration is provided even in his major series to justify 
the Law.®^ This defends not an historical entity handed down by 
tradition, but a transcendent Idea. Indeed, it includes a careful 
discussion of the principles of legal reform. It makes considerable 
difference whether one is defending a moral ideal or a social 
institution — the difference, in fact, between a reformer and a 
conservative.®® 

Constantly he makes clear his conviction that to defend Islam 
what is needed is to make it effectively known. That is, accurately 

By al-IChidr Ilusayn himself, and by others under his editorship. There 
is one bald instance of an apologetic contribution by another hand, laudatory 
rather than practical, and specifically looking for "the things in Islam, in its 
first period, of which one may be proud” (1:707; c£. 708, line 10, etc.). This 
is an article entitled “The Role of Islamic Culture in Intellectual Develop- 
ment” (1:700-09, 790-800). It is by the only writer in vol. 1, ‘Urjun, who is 
still a contributor to the journal in vol. 18. Also, significantly, it is the only 
article on Islamic history contributed during the first editor’s regime. (Apart 
from his casual use of history, mentioned above, the editor himself devotes 
one article to the theologian al-Ash‘arI, 3:303-16.) 

““ There is one long article by the editor himself, “Islam’s Clemency in 
the Treatment of Non-Muslims” (2:683-89), which is designed to show that 
the religion enjoins the greatest kindness in dealing with outsiders, both in 
war and peace, A reader who wished to take this simply as apologetic, rather 
than as an appeal for clemency, would not in tliis one case be prevented by 
anything within the article itself from doing so. 

01 “The SharVah of Islam Valid for All Times and Places,” series, voll. 1 
(36ir.)-3. The object is explicitly to refute “the illusion that the Canon Law 
is not suitable to conditions of the modern age” (1:36). Cf. Wajdi’s editorial, 
“The Teachings of Islam Meet the Needs of All Men at Every Time and 
Place” (17:12-15). The two treatments differ importantly. Al-Kliiclr in his 
idealism ascribes the “illusion” to persons who do not know what (true) 
Islam is; and goes on at once to make as his first point that ijtihad is basic 
to the Law and therefore one must begin with a study of that. There follow 
quite an elaborate presentation and discussion of the principles on which 
this (ideal) law is (imperfectly) apprehended — including the today crucial 
ijmd'. 

Cf. John Dewey (of all people!), in his discussion of Plato’s idealism as 
revolutionary over against the conservative realism of Aristotle; see his article 
"Philosophy” in Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, New York and London, 

1930-35- 12:124b- 


128 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


discernible. Moreover, and this is crucial, the Islam that he is 
defending is not, as with the later editor, an earthly society or a 
given system of practice or belief. It is, rather, a moral imperative. 

In one sense, therefore, this editor might be said in all his 
expository and exhortative writing to be “defending” the Islam 
to which he is committed. Wherever he is advocating a virtue or 
elucidating a truth, he is defending the divine in human life. 

This, for him, is the essential task of the journal, and indeed 
of the Azhar. In his “Introduction,” giving the initial declaration 
of the journal’s policy and raison d’etre, he begins by declaring 
that Islam is a sound guidance and the source of a flourishing life, 
but that it is corrupted by groups who, out of ignorance and 
error, attack it.““ Thus for him the danger is corruption (of earthly 
Islam, presttmably primarily by its own people). And the attack, 
which he too senses, is the product of ignorance of the true faith. 
The need, therefore, is instruction and a summons to righteous- 
ness.®^ Throughout his work, he lives up to his promise to provide 
these. 

The position that we are endeavouring to clarify is not exclu- 
sively, of course, that of the editor as an individual person. He 
represents it at a particularly high level, but others of his school 
exemplify the same general orientation. In the traditional depart- 
ments of the journal (under the classical rubrics tafsir^ sunnah, 
etc.) the viewpoint persists even into the later editor’s regime. It 
would be sociologically inept to underestimate the significance of 
the quiet nourishment of homely virtues.®® Sermonettes, for in- 
stance, are provided month by month by a scholar who chooses a 
hadith as his text, explains its literal meaning, and then goes on, 

03 1:3. 

oi“Tlie summons to good” (1:4): variously, “the summons to the truth” 
(4:4); and many similar expressions, passim. The later editor’s summons is 
more for an institution. The ease with which the first can use sharl'ah and 
"Islam” as almost interchangeable terms is also not found under Wajdi. 

“0 Cf. Butterfield on the chief role of the Church in the history of the West: 
“Those who preach the Gospel, nurse the pieties, spread New Testament 
Love, and affirm the spiritual nature of man are guarding the very fountain, 
dealing with the problems of civilization at its very source, and keeping open 
the spring from which new things will still arise. Compared with this contribu- 
tion it is unimportant if they themselves make mistaken judgements on 
mundane issues in history” — Herbert Butterfield, Christianity in European 
History, London &c, 1951 (University of Durham: Riddell Memorial Lec- 
tures), p. 55. 


J2p 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

at greater or less length, to point a moral. These men’s concern is 
not to argue that Islam has lofty principles. Taking this for 
granted, they rather strive to urge Muslims to live up to them. 
Subjects are brotherhood,®® good upbringing for children,®^ disci- 
pline,®® initiative,®® the mean between extravagance and parsi- 
mony,^® and the like.” 

There is a distinctive element in contributions even of lesser 
writers in the classical tradition, an element that is still prominent 
even when their discussions combine with an exposition and 
advocacy of their position a certain explicit defence of it. This 
element differentiates their defensive writings from more modernist 
types. It is the religious and other sensitivity with which their 
work is executed. 

Yusuf al-Dijwi, for example, in urging the teleological argument 
for God, describes in intense and vivid style the marvels of nature 

80 Often; e.g., 3:605-08; 4:535-38; 5:179-85. 

67 1:507-13, 592-97, 667-71; 2:497-505. 

68 E.g., 5:316-23. 

69 5:466-73. 

70 3:679-84. 

71 However, this too rather peters out gradually. The first editor lists 
al-Sunnah among the chief sections of the journal (1:6), while the second 
makes it and other classical departments secondary to apologetics (9:3-4). 
After the first two scholars who handle this rubric (Hasan Mansur, and after 
his death, Ibrahim al-Jibali — to vol. 5 through no. 9), there are three articles 
(by Yusuf al-Dijwi: 6:30-38 and 92-101, 164-70, 235-42) that preserve some- 
what the hadtth pattern, though without the regular heading; then a gap of 
two years, after which ‘Abd al-Rahman al-jaziri takes up the department 
(from vol. 8 no. 2) and handles it month by month until his death five years 
later (12:640). His treatment is characterized by a greater diversity of subject 
matter, and a greater attention to the specific details of the moral, or the 
canon, law. He too deals with the general virtues ("Sincerity,” 8:121-25, 223- 
28; "Justice,” 11:458-62; etc.) but devotes several of his articles to questions 
such as divorce (8:540-47), mortgages (10:251-55), and the manner and the 
occasion of reading the Qur’an (9:369-76; 11:520-23). He discusses also points 
of theology, from revelation (10:573-78) to the intercession of local departed 
spirits (12:583-86). There is then a year-and-a-half’s further interval; after 
which the feature reappears under Taha al-Sakit, who is still handling it at 
the end of our period, five years later. He too takes up personal moral ques- 
tions, and treats both of human virtue and of moral theology. He insistently 
inculcates, both in general and in detail, a sense of high ethical responsibility 
and of sincere piety; it is clear that he writes with a genuine religious feeling. 
There is, however, a tone of asceticism and of formalism which at times would 
lay him open to a charge of mechanism (one example, taken more or less 
at random from many that might be cited: 14:475-77). His conservatism ex- 
tends to the incidentals, and one misses the moral discrimination and warm 
humanity of the early writers. 


J50 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


and its majesty and splendour, and wonders at the insensitivity 
of atheism: at times the argument in fact, whatever it may be 
formally, is less from design to Designer than from beauty and 
sublimity to reverenceT'^ Similarly, in Qur’an exegesis there is on 
the whole'^® a skirting of modern intellectual problems and an 
avoidance of argumentation but a considerable level of moral 
intensity and numinous response. The moral and intellectual 
plane is highest when this form is handled by the Rectors of the 
Azhar. 

One should mention also the small quantity of material that is 
primarily of a devotional nature. In one instance it is confided that 
the endeavour has been “to write a brief article that would arouse 
love of God in men’s hearts.’’^^ The article, appropriately, makes 
extensive use of poetry.’'^ In the writings, too, of one or two other 
contributors,^® the reverential overtones are usually clear and not 
seldom carry the main melody.'^^ Much of the chief example in 
this devotional area, the most beautifully done, are some of the 
addresses of the Rector al-Maraghi: the language brilliant, the 
spirit deep, the feeling limpid and sincere.'^® 

To return to the editor himself, we may conclude by noting 
his editorial on "Fidelity in Scholarship.’"'® This is a forceful essay 
on the intellectual honesty required of a scholar, with illustrative 
stories of both honesty and dishonesty from Islamic history. It 
demands a punctilious faithfulness in reporting, a total lack of 
pretence in a ready admission of ignorance, a willingness to con- 

72 E,g., 1:14-23. 

13 One exception: the rather laboured defence in the series on Surat al- 
Mulk (2:1511.) of the arrangement of chapters and verses. Also to be excepted 
are the several studies about Qur’an studies and about the Qur’an, not in 
exegesis of it. 

1* 8:84. 

1“ See also ‘All Mansur, “Evidence in the Natural World for the Existence 
of the Great Creator,’’ 15:265-67, which is ostensibly the teleological argument 
again, but is unusually naive logically. The reader’s sense that this is less a 
process of argumentation than a statement of feeling is satisfied three times 
when the author breaks into poetry. 

13 E.g., the young and able al-Sharbasi, whom one can watch in the jour- 
nal’s pages graduating from the Azhar as a student and later joining its 
staff. Cf. 15:64, 128; 16:439. 

11 E.g., 16:187-89: 17:39-42. For another devotional writer, cf. 6:508-09. 

18 An example: his New Year’s address at the Azhar convocation, vol. 14, 
prefix to no. 1, pp. a-d. 

18 2:235-43. 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

fess past mistakes and to correct them, honest criticism even of 
the work of friends, and so on. The conclusion, significantly, 
relates it at once personally: since honesty among scholars is a 
source of a community’s life and greatness, in addition to being a 
personal quality of the scholar himself, it is up to us, he says, to 
instill it in our students by pursuing it ourselves in all our studies, 
and by answering their questions when we do not know by frankly 
saying that we do not know, never putting them off with a reply 
that we know within ourselves to be not really adequate. Having 
acquired a rigorous honesty himself, the teacher should then take 
care that the student not get careless, and should teach him that 
knowledge without honesty is worse than ignorance. 

We have elaborated our presentation of this position not merely 
for its intrinsic interest. The intellectual and emotional sincerity 
here evinced are indeed precious, as are the moral discernment 
and commitment. These virtues are rare in our modern world, 
and of vital practical significance for both man and society. Our 
purpose, however, is rather to induce the contrast between this 
traditional Islam and the modernist version. If one can grasp the 
fundamental distinction between this general attitude and that of 
the liberals, one has gone far towards understanding a major 
element in the transition that has been coming over Islam in 
recent times. The journal in the successive phases of its publica- 
tion exemplifies the critical shift from the traditional faith to the 
modern ideology. 

We stated above that for al-Khidr Husayn, Islam “is a true and 
right religion.” This applies equally to the second editor, Farid 
Wajdi. In introducing editorially two of his fifteen years of editor- 
ship, he speaks of expounding Islam and offering arguments in 
its defence,®" rather in his predecessor’s fashion but with more 
suggestion that he regards the two as discreet. And in the very 
first editorial he promises to strive to make the journal now under 
his charge “a lighthouse of guidance, a standard for the truth, a 
pure source of religious science and exposition.”®^ Furthermore, 
he once states that his intention with regard to studies to be pub- 
lished embraces “all that ivill result in awakening the religious 
feeling within men’s souls, and in directing the human personality 

8“ 6:3; 8:4. On the general tone of the latter foreword, cf. just below at ref. 

83. 

“4:297. 


J52 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

towards its perfection and true happiness.”®^ Moreover, his fore- 
word to a later volume,®® both in the preliminary ascription of 
praise to God®‘ and in the subsequent purport, stands out as sug- 
gestive of appreciative sensitivity on his part of an inner, personal 
significance of Islam. Here for once Wajdi betrays a genuine sub- 
jective feeling, not unlike that of the former editor. 

Yet these are isolated instances. In general the contrast between 
the spirit of the two men is sharp; and the sentence cited above 
from the first editor is one of the very few in our analysis of his 
position that could be applied to the second. On virtually every 
other point some antithesis rather than a comparison would be in 
order. In his understanding of and attitude to Islam, in his con- 
ception of the function of the journal and of the need of modern 
Muslim society, in the spirit, form, and substance of his thought, 
the second editor strikes a new note. 

He himself realizes this, and speaks of his predecessor’s failure 
to reach the heart of modern man because of his old-fashioned 
approach.®® 

As we have said, the policy statements cited above are rather 
exceptional. Their stand is in danger of being .submerged in the 
flood of protestations that the purpose of the journal is to serve 
Islam. “The object at which the journal is aiming (is) the service 
of Islam’’;®® “the various studies all . . . have one object: the 
service of Islam’’;®^ and so on. This principle is repeated again and 
again. Wajdi indicates this purpose as also his personal ideal for 
himself. He remarks, for instance, “Ever since we devoted our- 
selves to the service of Islam. . . .’’®® 

Furthermore, it is usually clear that for him Islam is an institu- 
tion. It is what an idealist would call the earthly expression of 
Islam’s transcendent reality. Islam for him is a set of ideas in men’s 
minds, a heritage, a society. It is not a moral imperative but some- 
thing tangible, an historical reality. To the first editor, there 
would be little meaning in “serving” Islam, since Islam is an idea 

82 12:3. 8® 8:3. 

8* "Praise be to God, for guiding us to the right religion and setting us on 
the straight path, and bestowing on us His counsel that gives life to the 
heart . . . ,” etc. Usually he praises God for enabling him to work hard for 
Islam; e.g., 6:3; 7:3: . . . 17:3. 

8® Cf. below, at ref. 187. 7:3. i4-3- 

88 13:3; cf. also just above, latter part of ref. 84. 


133 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


in the mind of God. It is hardly something to which to lend a 
helping hand in tlie time of its difficulties. 

Sometimes Wajdi expands his conception. “The Azhar Journal 
has two great o]>iectives. The first is to serve Islam. . . . The second 
objective i.s to serve the cause of religion in general” (by attacking 
materialist philosophy). ““ More often, he adds a social objective: 
“The Journal [is] devoted wholely to the service of Islam and its 
community”;"'’ “its basis is the service of Islam and its people”;"^ 
“all the effort expended is simply for the service of Islam and the 
Muslims; and also for general culture.”®^ However, it is not evi- 
dent that the service to he rendered to the Muslims as a people is 
over and above or distinct from the .service of rehabilitating their 
religion. It is presumably this latter of which the Muslim world 
stands "in the direst need.”"-’’ 

Where al-Khidr Ilusayn would have spoken of serving God, by 
elucidating the foundations of Lslam, instilling its principles, and 
exhorting men to observe its teachings, "Wajdi writes that the 
journal aims at “the service of Lslam, by demonstrating the firm- 
ne.ss of its foundations, tlie loftiness of its principles, the validity 
of its teach ings.”"‘‘ 

Similarly, his hopes are of spreading not Islam so much as "the 
excellencies of Lslam, and its irrefutable arguments,”®' Virtually 
his entire endeavour is to convince or to reassure his public that 
Lslam is all right. His declarations of purpose reveal his belief 
that they want such conviction or reassurance. 

For the first editor Islam was a transcendent idea, which it is 
man’s duty to ascertain and to follow. For the second it comes 
close to being an historical phenomenon which it is man’s duty to 
defend. For Wajdi makes clear his conception of the service that 
Lslam today requires. It is defence. 

To the defence of Lslam"® all else is admittedly secondary,®^ This 

'=■' ir,.-';. 1(1:3. "117:3. "2 ""14:3. 

"*7:3. "'’6:3. 

'an al-Isldm-, also, al-diftV 'an al-din. Such phrases are ubiquitous 
in rao(iern Arabic religious literature, Cf. also W. C. Smith, Modern Islam 
in India, Lahore, ir)}3. p. 92: London, “ipifi” (sc. 1917). p. 84. 

Wajdi -writes of his jiractice of publishing proofs of the soundness and 
universal validity of Islam, “proofs taken from tangible things and supported 
by the new sociological .studies, .knd we .stand up to the doubts that some 
religious propagandists excite in Muslims, and refute them -with a refutation 
that leaves them no longer standing. And alonp; with this we do not neglect 
to publish chapters of al-tafsir, al-sunnah al-nabawlyah, and articles on philos- 


134 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


is reiterated and emphasized relentlessly in his annual forewords. 
It is recapitulated and formalized in the official regulations for the 
journal drawn up for a new period beginning with a later vol- 
ume.''® These in their opening paragraph, “The Objects of the 
Journal,” proclaim as the first object the defence of Islam; with 
this is linked the setting forth of Islam’s excellences. The second 
paragraph, commenting on the subjects to be published, lists first 
“studies that support the belief and practices of Islam.” 

Further, if Wajdi promises in his editorials that he will use his 
best endeavour in the journal to defend Islam, certainly in his 
abundant writings he carries out this promise. Virtually the whole 
of his massive output serves this one purpose. Whatever subject 
he touches, whether it be poetry”® or the concern for health,’-”” 
naval battles’-”’ or democracy,’”” the treatment of children’”® or 
George Bernard Shaw,’”’ he deals with it not in and for itself but 
in its relation to Islam. Each is made to serve in one way or another 
to build a case in favour of the religion and “to ward off doubts.”’”® 

The point is illustrated, further, in the monthly (as distinct 
from annual) editorials. Al-Khidr Husayn, as we have noted, often 
contributed a sermonette advocating some point of individual 
virtue, with his rare moral discrimination and forceful sincerity. 
He also commented keenly on contemporary social problems,’”® 
with his active sensitivity as to what should be done about them. 
At times he uses the occasion to discuss theological matters’”’ or 
to argue against modern heresies.’”® Wajdi uses the same form but 

ophy, history, literature, and everything that an Islamic journal published by 
the Azhar must inevitably include” (9:3; emphasis ours). On another occa- 
sion, after several paragraphs on the journal's defending of Islam against 
doubts (quoted in part belotv, at ref. 120), he goes on, “and besides this, 
it publishes enjoyable articles on al-tafsir and al-sunnah, undertaken by two 
great Azhari scholars; and other studies on philosophy, literature, history, 
and scholarship” (10:4). 

”® 18:93-95. 

09 9:480-83 (this article is unsigned; but the Table of Contents and Index 
ascribe it to Wajdi, of whose style it is indeed characteristic). 

’”“5:404-10. ’”’■6:198-202. ’”010:36-38. ’“”5:196-201. 

’”’4:720-24. 

This phrase occurs throughout his writings, as throughout his announce- 
ments of policy. Examples: as tide, 9:498; 14:54; in the body of articles, 
9:505; etc. 

’“”E.g., 1:83-89, 243-48, 323-27; 3 ’ 376 - 82 - 

’“’E.g., 2:539-46, 611-18; 3:303-16. 

’“8 The Baha'i, 2:75-96. The Qadiyani, 3:447-63; 4:5-17, 110-19. Against 
Farid Wajdi, 3:7-20. 


135 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

exploits it rather differently. He favours the continuity of series, 
delighting to display facet after facet of a chosen subject — which 
throughout remains, essentially, the excellence of Islam. He begins 
with the series entitled “The Mission of the Religion of Islam in 
the World,” one or other aspect of which provides him with an 
editorial each month through three volumes.^““ This is followed 
by “The Spirit of Islam and the Extent of its Influence on the 
Soul of Man.”^“ Finally, “The Life of Muhammad in the Light 
of Science and Philosophy” is the generic heading under which 
for seven years he rings the changes in his unceasing argument on 
the validity of the Prophet’s message.^^^ The point for our con- 
sideration lies in the fact that, for instance, the fifty-nine articles 
of this last series do not urge the reader to implement that message, 
to feel it binding upon himself, but simply to admire it. It is a 
search for applause, not for action. 

Again, we have noted that he treats everything with which he 
deals not for its intrinsic value or interest but for its relevance to 
apologetics. This may be illustrated further in the attitude to 
science. Under the first editor’s direction science hardly figures; 
but in so far as it does, it is presented for its inherent interest. 
The journal has a section on “Translations” from English, French, 
and German. Under al-Khidr I-Iusayn’s editorship, this is devoted 
in part to “articles of scientific research and modern inventions’’^^ 
that will be useful and instructive, and will serve to keep the 
reader in touch with Western as well as Eastern currents of 
thought.^^® The subjects range from “new ways of preserving 
eggs,”u4 and “pearl culture in Japan, to spontaneous combus- 
tion,^^® and half a hundred more. Some articles are considerably 
longer, including three from the German on child psychology.®’^’’ 
No need is felt to interpret philosophically or religiously the 
scientific information presented; it is assumed that the reader is 

109 From vol. 4 no. 5 (when he took over as editor) to vol. 6 no. 10, twenty- 
six articles in all. The first twelve of tliis series are published in translation 
in the English supplement to voll. 4-5. 

11“ Fifteen articles in all, sporadically in voll. 7, 8, 9. 

Ill Fifty-nine articles, voll. 10-17, ’3 excepted. 

1122:3. 11^4:3. 11^2:391. 11® 1:331. 

ii« 1:373. 

lit A series, 1:2261!. (translated and compiled by the administrative editor; 
the matter would appear to be one in which he shows considerable interest); 
1:396-400 (second series: lege 456-60); 2:676-79. 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

interested, not perplexedd^s Under Wajdi, on the other hand, 
scientific information is jrressed into service in so far as, by judi- 
cious selection, it can serve to bolster the case for Islam. 

So much defence implies an enemy against which to defend. 
The enemy is clear: the drift away from religion. To judge from 
these writings, one would get the firm impression that the edu- 
cated Muslim world is abandoning Islam en masse, that the Azhar 
is one of the few outposts still standing against the onrush of 
secularism. 

As we have already noted, Wajdi calls for resistance to 

the materialist school of thought, which has spread, with the speed of 
fire in dry twigs, among the classes who study the natural sciences, and 
has fixed firmly in their minds that whatever spiritual manifestations 
there may be apart from these physical sciences are illusions, on which 
one must not rely — are, in fact, superstitions of which the mind ought 
to be cleansed.^^® 

Again: 

We have realized ever since we first concerned ourselves with speaking 
of Islam that the chief obstacle in its way arc the doubts expressed 
by those who hastily acquire a tinge of learning. . . . They hold in their 
terror that these doubts confute the teaching of religion and shake it 
to its foundations, and that when in modern civilized lands it was 
exposed to such assault, many forward spirits gave themselves over 
to these doubts. 

Such scepticism is today sowing its seeds among us . . . and doing 
to us what it has done to others, on the illusion that to get rid of faith 
is a precondition of cultural advance and intellectual freedom. . . . 

The Azhar Journal therefore spends its effort in tracking down this 
scepticism that has worked its way into learning, and in analysing it, 
exposing its strong and weak points, and showing that it does not 
militate against Islam or touch its essence, but confirms and supports 
it and makes it the universal religion from which there is no devi- 
ating;^““ 

and similarly, time and again. 

These passages illustrate also his equating irreligion with philo- 
sophic materialism, a recurrent motif throughout his contribu- 
tions.^-^ He does not leave his adversaries’ position undefined; 

cf. the box on the place of science in the journal, 2:384. 

1109:419. 

120 10:3. Many similar quotations could be adduced. 9:3-4: 14:3: etc. 

121 Actually, there are two types of assault that his writings are seen to be 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

there are repeatedly descriptions o£ what it is that he is combating. 
For example: 

The materialists are at great pains to establish that the universe is 
material and that man is material; matter with them being first and 
last, form and substance, that from which all that is arose and to which 
it will return. In their view, what is said about a creator for the uni- 
verse and a spirit for man, and a life after this life, is all airy nonsense 
— something engendered by the imagination, in which men came to 
believe, and handed down century after century until they took to 
regarding it as part of the natural order; when in fact it is nothing 
but the product of the exuberant, boundless imaginative faculty.^22 

At other times he quotes directly from the (Western) sources 
that he is striving to refute, placing fairly before his readers the 
antagonist’s statement and then replying to the points one by one. 
An example is his article entitled "Scientific Doubts about Reli- 
gions,”^“® which treats a book called The Irreligion of the Future 
by “the great [^zc] French philosopher Guyo” {sic: lege Guyau.)^®* 
An example of “refuting doubts about Islam’’’^^“ is his rebuttal 
of allusions to a supposedly aggressive belligerence in Islam, re- 
produced from a petulant chapter on the Muslim bloc in a West- 
ern geographical text.^^“ These and many other instances of the 


resisting: this against religion in general, and criticism specifically of Islam. 
Articles to meet the latter are considerably less numerous, though they form 
a group in themselves sizeable enough. The distinction between the two is not 
made vivid. Nor is it functionally important, since the attack on Islam, 
whether missionary, orientalist, or general, is evidently considered as having 
essentially the same effect as the other: namely, an increased atheism, a cynical 
and worldly unbelief. Cf. above, ref. 17. On Christian missions, cf. 10:154, 
where the sentiment is expressed that adult Muslims are impervious to evan- 
gelism; more eloquent is the silence on the subject that the editor elsewhere 
observes. Similarly there is a lone discussion of communism (11:39-42, 98-101); 
its criticism is social rather than philosophic. 

122 9:635. 

123 9:505-09. 

12^ Jean-Marie Guyau (1854-88), LTrreligion de I’avenir, Paris, 1887. 

122 This phrase is used as title for a number of articles; including the one 
here noted, 6:337-43. 

128 Isaiah Bowman, The New World: Problems in Political Geography. The 
edition accessible to the present writer is the 4th, New York and Chicago, 
1928. Chapter III, "The Mohammedan World,” uses such language as “the 
Moslem menace,” "appalling” and “ruthlessness” (p. 126); reassures its readers 
against the "disaster to modern civilization” (p. 125) that the Muslims might 
be expected to perpetrate, and discusses how the West may best control their 
countries. 




THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


sort indicate that the function of the journal, in both types of 
case, is to deal with doubts on Islam existing in Arab minds but 
coming from the reading of Western books. 

The defence is against modern materialistic scepticism, and the 
instruments of defence are sound learning and sound philosophy 
to prove that Islam is indeed a good thing. The method used in 
combatting modern intellectual doubt must itself be intellectually 
modern, he avers.^^'^ This demands, for one thing, the philosophic 
approach.^^® He is convinced that the fight must be conducted 
“with the very weapons”’^^® on which the opponents rely: the pro- 
nouncements of science.^®” 

So far so good. Yet this reliance on selections from Western 
learning to defend Islam has its dangers. One is that only those 
aspects of Islam be considered to which the West’s secular in- 
tellectualities are relevant; and it is at least questionable whether 
the heart of religion will not be missed in this process. As we shall 
see as we proceed, this seems indeed to have happened. It may be 
asked whether Wajdi has not in fact sold out to the West’s ma- 
terialism in the very act of supposedly defending Islam against it. 
The other danger, also more demonstrable as we proceed, is that 
of deliberately choosing evidence with a view to substantiating 
an already held thesis, rather than following where the evidence 
itself may lead.’-^ 

127 The journal must “serve Islam in a way suitable to contemporary 
ideology" (14:3); again, its object is "to serve Islam in a way that is in har- 
mony with the culture of the present age, and acceptable to the intellectual 
climate of modern man” (15:3). 

12s He more than once defends himself against criticism for introducing 
so many philosophic articles into the journal: “Is it desired that we should 
leave hearts exposed to the invasion and conquest of secidar philosophy, 
while we devote all our energies to the purely religious side? . . . Philosophies 
today have a dominion over men’s minds that they have not had in any other 
age" (17:4). 

129 14:3. 

ISO “Ever since we devoted ourselves to the service of Islam, it has been 
our custom to familiarize ourselves with the natural sciences and with Western 
philosophy, realizing that the relation between our culture and that of the 
West imposes on us the duty of understanding the stages upon which the 
latter culture has entered . . . ; without hesitating to cite the scepticism of 
its materialists and to bring them to the bar of basic science and the estab- 
lished propositions of sound philosophy. This method has, in fact, succeeded 
in directing attention to the lofty wisdom that is in Islam, and the unshake- 
able inviolability” (12:3; cf. 9:3-4 for a paragraph in similar vein). 

181 E.g., 4:297; 11:3. 


I3P 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

The content of Wajdi’s apologetic, against materialism and 
against objections to Islam, is, we have already suggested, par- 
ticular to himself. He has his own views on these matters, and 
his own special interests, which he has developed at great length. 
Other writers in the Arab world and elsewhere present different 
arguments; here we confess that he cannot be taken as widely 
representative. However, on the method of defence he remains 
typical, and his treatment significantly reveals the general tend- 
ency of modernism. We may, therefore, profitably make certain 
further observations on trends that have a validity and importance 
far beyond his individual ideas. 

First, in all his defence, the relation to the West is intimate. 
Half the journal’s articles are written under the shadow of the 
West, answering criticisms that Westerners, or Muslims under 
their influence, have levelled against the religion on the theoretical 
plane, or pondering practical problems that the West, or so it is 
alleged, engenders. Yet a separate category also is constituted by 
articles in series, and for a time virtually an explicit department,^®^ 
devoted specifically to Islam and the modern West. The bulk of 
this material is by Wajdi and much of it is cast in the form char- 
acteristic of his writings: translations from the French, with com- 
ments. 

Virtually all the contributions fall into one of two well-defined 
but disparate gi'oups. There are those setting forth instances of 
good opinion of Islam in the West, and those pointing out and 
replying to criticisms. The one group holds up Western approval 
for admiration, and uses it to answer indigenous critics or doubt- 
ers. For instance, Muslims who are slack about the ritual prayer 
are confronted with a foreign acknowledgement of its value.^"® 
The second type, on the other hand, holds up for ridicule or 
rebuttal Westerners’, particularly Orientalists’, depreciation; the 
point, often explicit, being that they do not understand Islam. 

On the laudatory side, the articles include testimony of “the 

132 “The World's Views on Islam and the Muslims” (the wording of the 
heading varies slightly), 9:324, 554: 10:76 etc.; 11:123 etc. The series includes 
one note (10:792-93) on a Shanghai newspaper report of Chiang Kai-shek’s 
testifying to Muslims' valour and patriotism. Otherwise the entire department 
is concerned with European (occasionally American) “views,” as are all the 
other articles of this type. The theosophist Annie Besant is also called a 
“leader of thought in Europe” (Wajdi. 7:644; 8:290). 

3:253-54- 


140 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

great philosophers and historians’’^®^ of the West, as well as stray 
newspaper references^®” and extracts from other minor sources’^*® 
alluding to Muhammad, woman’s status in Islam,^®® Muslim 
law,^®® the early Muslim conquests, the Azhar,^‘^ etc. There are 
also a few notices of the spread of Islamic studies in Europe.^^* 

The protests have targets ranging from an article in the aca- 
demic Encyclopaedia of Islam^^^ and a judgement passed on Islam 
by H. G. Wells^“ to casual remarks in, for instance, a London 
daily newspaper.®^^® 

It is important to note how strikingly the spirit of the defence 
is Westernizing. Islam is defended not only against Western dis- 
paragement. It is defended also by means of Western approval. 
Herein is betrayed again the ambivalence to European civilization. 
It comes into focus in the chance fact that H. G. Wells’ judgement 
of Islam is held up for rebuttal, as we have seen; whereas from the 
same writer, same book, a quotation is elsewhere given as a tribute 
to the religion.^^® Again, in the defence against criticism the 
criteria employed are often Western. 

This simultaneous repulsion and attraction in relation to the 
modern West is profound, and can be seen to underlie and to 
explain much of Wajdi’s writing. It indicates that he and his 
readers are sufficiently involved in a community lack of self-con- 
fidence that the good opinion of Europe is a matter of deep 
concern to them.’'*’’ Yet that very lack of self-confidence is nour- 
ished by, or even stems from, an apparent adoption of the stand- 
ards on which Europe supposedly forms opinions. At a more basic 
level, it stems from an inability to form, and live by, genuine 
value judgements of one’s own. 

This phrase occurs in the title of more than one of Wajdi’s contribu- 
tions; e.g., 4:531, 720; cf. 5:259. It is used pretty indiscriminately. 

is^E.g., 10:154-58, 236-40. 13 ® E.g., individual letters: 10:234-36. 

131 E.g., 8:95-98. 138 E.g., 8:290-93. 130 E.g., 13:420-22. 

wo 9:423-25. 1119:407-12. 

142 In post-war Arabic writing, it is the rapid growth of Near and Middle 
Eastern and Islamic studies in America that is advertised. 

113 5:556-66, 639-46. Ill 10:305-10. 113 10:630. 

110 Cf. 10:305-10 with 1:610-12. The latter is before Wajdi’s time, but we 
think the point is not invalidated. 

111 Again one is reminded of the individual personality whom somewhat 
comparable conditions have produced in great numbers in the West: athirst 
for outsiders’ approval, defiant of their rejections, he is mercilessly buffeted 
by life in so far as his self-esteem is dejiendent on the opinion of others. 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


Something similar obtains in the philosophic realm. There it is 
less overt; but more far-reaching, for all its subtlety. Wajdi is 
proudly explicit that he uses Western science itself, and the evi- 
dence of the senses, to confute the materialists.^"*® It is doubtful, 
however, whether it is to the heart of the faith that these premisses 
and this logic lead. By calling in the aid of psychic research, 
hypnotism, and the like,“® and some fundamental physics,"*'*'’ he 
is able to sustain, to his own and presumably his readers’ satisfac- 
tion, the view that the objective universe consists of spirit as well 
as of matter. It may be inferred that by and large his readers are 
not of that group who would question whether the evidence, even 
if valid, does indeed prove this contention, and not rather the 
alternative one, now widespread among scientists, that the matter 
of which the objective universe consists is more ethereal or complex 
than was once supposed. 

For example, he quotes from Le Bon facts and theories on the 
non-solidity and kinesis of matter,"*®^ without realizing that this 
dynamic etherealization of matter makes it more, not less, capable 
of sustaining the universe without the help of an extrinsic second 
principle. This is, in fact, the conclusion that Le Bon himself 

I'ls cf. above, at ref. 130. The titles of many of Wajcli’s articles include the 
same point; e.g., ‘‘Scientific Doubts about the Religions: Their Analysis and 
Refutation by the Method of Science Itself” (19:505); ‘‘Tangibly Proving 
the Human Spirit; New Demonstrations Based on the Requirements of the 
Scientific Method” (series 11:62511.-12); etc. In the body of his writings, 
passim; e.g., 14:290, opening paragraph. 

References for this luxuriate. Spiritualist phenomena figure in much of 
his prolific writing on nature and science generally (an example: his series 
on ‘‘The Battlefield of the Two Philosophies,” voll. g, 10, 13-15). The follow- 
ing are examples of articles devoted specifically to the psychic: 7:205-09; 
8:105-14; 9:193-99; 9:345-50: 11:625-29 and 12:285-87, 375-77, 433-37; etc. 
Note his article, ‘‘The ‘isawi Group [of dervishes] in Europe, performing 
Preternatural Feats to which Investigators Attribute a Spiritual Cause,” 9:117- 
20, as an interesting example of traditional Islamic wonder-working now 
tied in with Western science. 

E.g., 4:649-52; largely a translation from a 1907 lecture on the planetary 
theory of the atom by Gustave le Bon (whom he astonishingly calls ‘‘the 
discoverer of this important matter” — ^4:649). Wajdi’s repetitiousness, ap- 
parently unconscious, is brought out by his giving ten years later (14:348-52) 
a fresh translation of the same lectures, with new comments. In the latter 
instance he also quotes Henri Poincar6 on the supersession of materialism 
now that ‘‘it is established that matter is not a solid body” (14:348). Cf. also 
his article, ‘‘What Ether Is,” 8:46-48. 

isi See the preceding ref. 


1^2 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

draws^®^ and for which Wajdi has to take him to taskd®^ Actually, 
what Wajdi is unwittingly accomplishing is the overthrow of naive 
materialism by means of a more refined and modern materialism. 

This on the physical plane is less important than its counterpart 
on the human. Here he makes, for instance, great play with the 
scientific establishment of the fact that man has a subconscious 
mind. He calls this “higher than the ordinary mind.”^°'‘ That it 
is “higher,” he repeats,^®® though many of his illustrations are 
from morbid^”'’ psychology. He goes on to quote one Gustave 
Geley on the subconscious as the exiDlanation of genius, intuition, 
and artistic and literary creation,^'5T ^nd concludes that the new 
scientific studies — of delirium, schizophrenia, etc. — are uncover- 
ing “a reality of the utmost splendour,”^^ namely that man has a 
spirit independent of the body and belonging to “a higher 
world.”“° 

The splendour might surely be questioned, and the evaluation 
that the “spirit” evinced is “higher.” Those directly acquainted 
with the Western material might find it rather pitiful that Wajdi 
should be resting his case for the divine in human affairs on 
phenomena that his source calls instances of “a throng of 
troubles”^®® in the mind. Again, the Gustave Geley from whom 

152 “ ‘These cosmic forces were brought into existence by existence (the 
universe: al-wujud) itself, which is the spirit of everytlring within it, and is 
sustained by the forces that are the cause of the existence of the world and 
things in it. Each of these things that exist is a microcosm of marvellous 
complexity, sustained by forces that were unknown, forces whose magnitude 
exceeds to an indefinite degree any known in the past’ ” (14:352). 

163 Wajd! inserts a parenthetic question mark after the phrase al-wujud 
nafsuh in the preceding; and then adds two concluding paragraphs of com- 
ment protesting against this "strange” and "meaningless” position (loc. cit.). 
Cf. also his rejection of Buchner’s vitalist interpretation of matter, 14:518-20. 

1^*14:82, line 15. Ibid., line 18. E.g., see 14:85. 

14:82-85; the same point is often made elsewhere, quoting various other 
Westerners, e.g., 15:53. 

14:85. I'SEoc. cit. 

1““ Wajdi, 14:140, in an article on the subconscious memory, cites the 
account by T. Flournoy (1854-1920) of an alleged Sanskrit-speaking girl as 
an instance proving “tlie permanence of spirit” (the subtitle of the article, 
14:139). Flournoy’s own account is as follows: “Au point de vue physiologique, 
on a vu que Mile. Smith, comme sans doute tous les mediums, pr^sente 
pendant ses visions et somnambulismes une foule de troubles de la motilitd 
et de la sensibility, dont elle parait tout k fait indemne dans son dtat normal” 
— T. Flournoy, Des Indes a la plan^te Mars, Paris, 1890, p. 412. Similarly, 
Flournoy calls mediumship one of “les affections fonctionelles du syst^rae 
nerveux” (loc. cit.). 


14^ 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

he repeatedly quotes’^®! was a French spiritualist whose original 
works^“® set forth a philosophy that is a kind of scientific idealist 
rationalism. It would probably not be unfair to call him an atheist. 
Certainly in any meaning of terms that Wajdi could accept he 
would have to be classed as an atheist. In fact, many Westerners, 
and presumably some Westernized circles in Islam other than 
those whom the journal reaches, feel quite able to accommodate 
the adduced phenomena within an irreligious ideology. Parallel- 
ing the development in physics, their neo-materialism is, by these 
advances, actually the better armed to interpret the world. 

The purpose here is not to dispute the philosophic validity of 
Wajdi’s arguments. The point, rather, is to draw attention to the 
fact that, whatever their philosophic validity, the moral, aesthetic, 
and numinous content is small. The amorality of psychic phe- 
nomena is striking, both in general and of those that crowd the 
pages of this editor’s writing. The journal evidently catered to a 
group other than those who feel that a religion reduced to sup- 
porting itself on hypnotism and spiritism is in a parlous state. 

Nor are this triviality and axiological tenuousness confined to 
his treatment of science. So keen is Wajdi to satisfy doubters by 
using Western criteria that, paradoxically, a marked irreligious- 
ness permeates almost all his defence. 

An important aspect of this is his contention, enormously typical 
of the modern Arab intellectual scene, that Islam first taught what 
Europe now teaches. “See, then,” he concludes one of his earliest 
articles in a vein that runs through almost to the latest, “how 
philosophy in the twentieth century comes establishing what the 
Qur’an laid down some fourteen centuries ago.”^““ Again, he writes 
about “democracy, whose edifice Muslims pride themselves on 
their religion’s having first set up in the world.”^“^ He states that 
“European scholars have discovered that our forefathers had been 
working on the evolution theory, the latest of all scientific 
theories. And so on. Many of his monthly editorials, more or 
less explicitly, are designed to show that the teachings nowadays 

i»iE.g., 14:35-3^. 82-85, 140-41. 

102 The following was available to us: G. Geley, From the Unconscious to 
the Conscious, trans. by S. De Brath, New York & London, 1920. This is a 
version of the French work cited often by Wajdi; cf. his articles noted in the 
preceding ref. 

’^‘>^4:411. 10:36. 

Supplement to vol. 14, no. 8, p. 3. 

144 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

esteemed in the West and by Westerners were long since pro- 
claimed by Islam. The subtitle of one illustrates this: “Islam Was 
Ahead of its Time, Establishing for its People Principles which 
They had not Attained in the Course of their Development, and 
Some of which the Entire World Attained only after many Cen- 
turies.”^®'’ 

Apologetic of this sort, common enough in all religions, would 
hardly call for comment^'”’ were it supplemented by positive teach- 
ing. The significance of its place in Wajdi’s writing has to do with 
the fact that there is so little else. In his endeavour to lift Islam to 
the standard that the West accepts, he forgets that unless Islam 
not only reaches but surpasses such a standard, unless the religion 
is not only as good as but better than secular requirements, there 
is presumably no case against those -who abandon Islam and go 
over to Westernism. If Islam originally taught the essence of 
modernity, then presumably they are not really abandoning Islam 
after all. In extolling Islam’s achievements, Wajdi does on occasion 
speak apologetically of its success in bringing men near to God, 
and in inspiring them morally.^®® Such occasions are, however, 
noticeably rare; they are almost overborne by the emphasis on 
social success, scholarly attainments, and material progress. 

If Islam centuries ago taught the moral, social, and even scien- 
tific principles with which only recently Europe has caught up, 
if it established on earth in its golden age a good society, then 
fairness demands that it be admired as an historical phenomenon. 
And this is approximately the position that Wajdi in fact puts 
forward. The Islam that emerges from a close study of his articles 
is indeed primarily an historical phenomenon, chiefly to be seen 
in the fairly distant past, and deserving to be admired. Unlike 
al-Khidr Husayn, who constantly measures existing conditions 
against the high ideal before his eyes, Wajdi compares them to 
Islam of the first centuries.’^®® Accordingly, there is his great in- 
terest in Muslim history, and his oft-repeated sentiment that 
“Islam produced in the world a transformation such as mankind 
has not witnessed at any other stage in history. (This unique- 

15:424- 

Yet on the seriousness of Islamic antagonism to Europe, cf. Arthur J. 
Arberry, in his Preface to his translation of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, The 
Mysteries of Selflessness, London, 1953, pp. xiii-xvii. 

188 E.g., 5:156-61, 231-34. 189 E.g., 14:54. ”85:191. 


^43 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

ness of Muslim history is advanced rather glibly. This too is 
standard.) 

Yet if all that is claimed for Islam is a past greatness — whether 
in its own historical concrete achievements or as a precursor of 
modern science and philosophy’s achievements — ^then if one is 
sincere it should be accorded appropriate applause, and let gradu- 
ally die out like other historical phenomena. Wajdi’s writing 
skirts the fact that no amount of emphasizing this claim will logi- 
cally do more than increase the applause. This would at most 
summon it back for a final curtain call. 

The claim being essentially secular, the applause is due more or 
less equally from Muslims and non-Muslims. Wajdi realizes this. 
For instance, he speaks of a small English-language appendix to 
the journal, at a time when it was publishing inter alia his own 
articles, as “spreading the excellences of Islam among Muslims 
and non-Muslims”’^^^ indiscriminately. And practically all his writ- 
ings would serve equally well for either group. In a strict sense, 
even, such apologetic is more appropriate for non-Muslim con- 
sumption. 

In fact, a fanciful case could be made out that these writings are 
really functioning for readers who in the most profound, most 
religious sense are not Muslim; rather are men who, religiously 
ex-Muslira, are (or want to be) proud of their heritage, and des- 
perately need reassurance in a hostile world. They believe (or 
want to believe) ardently in Islam and delight to see it defended. 
A true Muslim, however, is not a man who believes in Islam — 
especially Islam in history; but one who believes in God and is 
committed to the revelation through His Prophet. The latter is 
here sufficiently admired. But commitment is missing. And God 
appears remarkably seldom throughout these pages. 

The political and social implications of these attitudes are far- 
reaching. Most apparent is that profoundly emotional belief in 
the Islamic community that characterizes the modern Muslim 
“communalist” variation upon secular nationalism. 

The materialism that surreptitiously colours Wajdi’s presenta- 
tion, as well as the pressure of European censure with its distorting 
effect, under which he and his readers feel themselves to be labour- 
ing, are revealed in his brief report on the visit to Cairo of 
‘Uthman Wu, official delegate of the Islamic Union of China: “We 

lu 6:4. 


146 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


spoke with him and inquired about the conditions of the Chinese, 
and learned several valuable things from him. One was that the 
number of Muslim Chinese comes to fifty million as shown by the 
official census — which means a correction in the view of many 
Western writers, who estimate the number of China’s Muslims at 
twenty million souls. Among the “several valuable things,” 
this is the only one that he deems worth mentioning. 

The moral poverty of these witings is most evident in the 
absence of exhortation. In striking contrast to al-Khidr Husayn’s 
constant appeal to folloiv ideals, his constant presentation of Islam 
in such a way as to incite moral striving, his constant use of the 
verbs “must” and “ought” and “should,” the second editor makes 
almost no demands. The Islam that he presents is content to be ad- 
mired. When he mentions moral values, it is more often to prove 
that Islam has them than to instigate their practice. 

The point is illustrated in many articles — not least, in that 
ironically entitled “Islam Urges Action.”^^® With a presentation 
of this article we may draw to a close our consideration of this 
writer. His discussion here too is apologetic. The opening para- 
graph states that it is superficial not to realize that one draws near 
to God not only in quietist worship but also through an activity 
for good; “and this is a characteristic of Islam, making it a reli- 
gion of civilization, valid for all times and places and for every 
people.” “The first Muslims,” it goes on, “conquered the earth by 
unceasing activity; and kept it under their control by great and 
constant striving.” There follow three pages on the outstanding 
achievements of these first Muslims, incited as they were to tire- 
less activity by their religion and putting forth great effort in 
commerce, industry, scholarship, and other fields, so that “their 
scholars were the most learned scholars on earth. Their physicians 
were the most honoured physicians on earth. Those engaged in 
other fields of learning were the leaders to whom problems were 
referred for solution. And their craftsmen and artificers were the 
most gifted and most skilled of all their fellows on earth.” Some 
modern scholars, Wajdi continues, try to explain these superb 
accomplishments in terms of what the Muslims borrowed from 
other cultures, but it was clearly Islam that gave them the impetus 

14:208 (the second of the two contiguous pages so numbered). There 
had, in fact, been no official census. 

147 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


and unity. Similarly today, he ends by saying, “the conservatives 
and men of religion, far from preventing the new renascence, have 
like their predecessors of old become among its leading advocates.” 
The conclusion is, “There is then no question but that the doubts 
of Islam’s enemies are confuted, and tlteir explanation of the 
Muslims’ first florescence falls. Praise be to God.” 

Except for a few lines, this not atypical essay transports the 
reader to the golden age of the past. The object, as the conclusion 
shows, was to confute doubts. A great deal of this defensive writ- 
ing betrays rather pitifully the intellectual insincerity of its writer; 
but the present essay is a sad example of the emotional insincerity 
inculcated in its readers. For, despite the title, it contains very 
little urging to action. It seeks not to instigate, but to comfort and 
console. The reader is left in his armchair, with a glow of warmth 
in his heart. 

This poses the fundamental weakness of the whole modernist 
position. Wajdi is right that Islam urges to action. One might, 
then, without too great presumption be tempted to suggest that 
Muslim modernism is not really Islamic. 

Its essential tragedy is that it has lost touch with the heart of 
faith. 

The same kind of apologetic is amply illustrated in many 
articles from other hands in the latter years of the journal. They 
range unevenly from greater or less sincerity to less or greater 
sentimentality. It would be tedious to press investigation of these. 
We shall conclude our attempt to give an exposition of the two 
divergent trends by offering one final instance, exhibiting both at 
once. It is provided by a translator preparing material for the 
sporadic English supplement.^’'‘ The difference between positive 
and defensive’^'^® preaching is again illustrated in what happens to 
one of al-Khidr Husayn’s own articles. He has an editorial which 
he entitles “Kindness to Animals”^’® in which he arrays materials 
from the Qur’an and from the hadith and abundant stories from 
the Muslim past to prove that Islam requires and used successfully 
to inculcate a lively consideration for animals; and pleads for it 

Voll. 2 to 14. carry sporadically an “English Supplement,” of a few pages, 
appended at the end of some of the monthly issues. The pagination is rather 
erratic. 

Its al-du'd and al-difd'. 

1703:83-91. 

148 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

now. The English version^'^'' is a plea less for animals than for 
Islam. It quietly changes the title to “Islam and Kindness to 
Animals.” And while most of the translation is straightforward 
enough, the following comparison from the concluding paragraphs 
is revealing:^'® 

ARABIC ORIGINAL 

The heart bleeds in sorrow that 
societies for kindness to animals have 
been founded in Europe for about a 
hundred years and the appeal for 
merciful treatment of animals is 
louder there than in Muslim coun- 
tries. So much so, that many of our 
young men and the common people, 
who judge between religions by the 
behaviour of their adherents, sup- 
pose that Islam has not given atten- 
tion to the duty of treating animals 
with compassion, and that it is Eu- 
rope to whom the credit goes for 
appealing for this compassion. 

The Royal Society for Kindness to 
Animals in England was founded in 
1 824; and it is a matter of shame that 
that society should have a branch in 
a Muslim city like Cairo but that no 
group of Muslims has undertaken 
the same sort of task — ^when the true 
religion awakened in the hearts of 
their predecessors the emotion of 
mercifulness to animals 1350 years 
ago. 

There has apparently been a widespread inability to see the 
difference between these two; or, if one has seen it, a feeling that 

Supplement to vol. 3, nos. 7 and 8. It could perhaps be argued that, 
since it was to appear in English, the translation is addressed primarily to 
non-Muslims and therefore the moral exhortation might be dropped legiti- 
mately (cf. also die next ref.). This would obviate the charge of emotional 
insincerity, leaving only intellectual. However, the English version of this 
piece is so thoroughly typical in spirit of a vast amount of literature in Arabic 
written by and for Muslims, that such an argument is really not at all cogent. 
Again, our point in reproducing this here is not at all to cavil at this par- 
ticular item, but to illustrate by it an extremely common characteristic of 
"modernism.” 

Arabic, 3:91; English, Supplement to vol. 3 no. 8, p. 31. Another example 
of similar treatment is in the English version (Supplement to vol. 3, nos. 5-6) of 


ENGLISH TRANSLATION 

It is significant that societies of 
prevention of cruelties to animals 
were founded in Europe a little over 
a century. Many ignorant people who 
are wont to judge religions rather by 
the conduct of those who profess it 
than by the intrinsic value of its 
precepts, have deemed Islam oblivi- 
ous of the claims of animals to kind- 
ness and wrongly accord the honour 
to Europe for the institution of those 
humane codes. Suffice it to say that 
the first society of prevention of 
cruelty to animals was founded in 
England in 1824 while Islam has 
urged a kind and merciful treatment 
of animals thirteen and a half cen- 
turies ago. 


149 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


the defensive version is to be preferred. Any such inability, any 
such preference, is surely an important explanation for much of 
the difficulty into which the modern Muslim world has fallen. Our 
extended treatment of the modernist position has been proffered 
not simply as a perhaps interesting piece of literary criticism; but 
rather because it illuminates, we believe, a great deal of Arab be- 
haviour and frustration, in fields from national development to 
the crises of international affairs. 

Indeed, the appalling price always exacted by a loss of intel- 
lectual and emotional integrity ramifies from this type of Islamic 
modernism into religious, intellectual, and practical life. The sor- 
row of much Arab and other Muslim modernity is the extent to 
which that loss, of which the analysis of one illustration has here 
been attempted, colours the whole intellectual and emotional 
climate of sophisticated society. 

Material written, even explicitly, as apologetic may also or in- 
stead serve some other function. The history of Islam, Christianity, 
and other religions gives evidence suggesting that apologetic has 
an inherent tendency to transform itself into dogma. What begins 
as defence, even insincere, may end as idealism. Articles in the 
journal that are designed to honour or to defend Islam by show- 
ing that it has certain virtues, certainly by some readers may be 
taken rather as honouring those virtues. And by praising Islam’s 
classical history, while some readers may only be made comfort- 
able, others may be incited to emulation. 

Secondly, even if the apologetic serves only the function for 
which it is intended, it may, of course, be supplemented from 
other sources. Muslim leaders might, from many of the writings 
here considered, derive only reassurance and “the warding off of 
doubts.” Yet the moral discernment and dynamic, the sensing of 
the holy and the experience of communion, that Islam has tra- 
ditionally offered and without which a religion is hardly signifi- 
cant and certainly not complete, they might be deriving from 
other literature or, most appropriately, from worship. 

The point here is simply that the literature here studied in itself 
largely lacks these other qualities. And in this it is representative. 


al-Khidr gusayn, "Just Judging in Islam” (2:5-14); where the concluding 
sentence, which applies the moral to tlie present day, is omitted. 


150 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


By its emphases and methods it suggests that it may be catering 
for at least some readers who have themselves lost contact with 
those values, and are in consequence bewildered and afraid, almost 
cringing before or driven by hatred of a disdainful alien civiliza- 
tion, and beset by doubt lest the one thing that they have on which 
to rely be also somehow failing. In their apprehension they would 
buttress their refuge by ascribing to it not values in which they 
themselves believe but those, as best they can estimate them, of 
their critics and adversaries — until this unconscious insincerity 
undermines their own values and they are left not really knowing 
in what they themselves believe, or no longer really believing in 
anything. And if they cling for salvation to a sentimentalized 
version of their erstwhile religion, they are at heart almost 
mushrikun: revering Islam in history along with, or even instead 
of, God. 

There would surely seem more to admire in, more to hope from, 
a religion that produces a man of the moral stature of the first 
editor, than one that is defended with the forensic skill of the 
second. 

It seems to us,”° then, that the “modernist” position of Islam 

ITS Also to Gibb; cf. the by now almost famous clause with which he con- 
cludes his chapter on Law and Society: “. . . the intellectual confusions and 
the paralyzing romanticism which cloud the minds of the modernists of 
today" (op. cit., p. 105; cf. p. 106). Cf. also the next ref. Cf. further the signifi- 
cant article, ably expressing an assessment of the situation that would be 
accepted by most outside observers, Joseph G. Harrison, “Middle East In- 
stability," Middle Eastern Affairs, New York, 5:73-80 (1954); e.g., pp. 76!. 
“. . . While it takes no great degree of insight to recognize tliat the Middle East 
today is an area in which the former way of life is falling apart without a 
satisfactory substitute having yet made its appearance, it is more difficult to 
draw positive conclusions as to the cause of this deterioration. Perhaps all 
that can be said in a limited amount of space is that it has become abundantly 
apparent that the intellectual foundations of Arab life have been found 
almost wholly wanting in this period of grave crisis. Faced with the necessity 
of quickly and decisively evolving a new social, economic and political 
pattern, the educated classes in the Middle East have so far shown them- 
selves almost totally inadequate to the task. Accustomed to believe that their 
way of life was inherently superior to that of any other religious or racial 
group, they have been unable to grasp the fact that this way of life has 
failed them. . . . Refusing to acknowledge where they themselves have failed, 
they have fallen into the pitfall of blaming others, in this case the West.” 
This article was reprinted under the title “The Riddle of Arab Unrest” in 
The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, April 29, 1954, the author being 
Overseas News Editor of that paper. 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

has developed severe weaknesses in comparison widi the classical 
tradition. The latter preserves a dignity and nobility that are 
surely of the utmost significance, and that cannot be lost without 
disaster to society. However, it would be unrealistic not to recog- 
nize that its position too in the modern world is characterized by 
a fundamental weakness of serious import. This is its failure ade- 
quately to relate itself to modernity. It does not itself effectively 
grasp modern problems: nor is it able to communicate, to get itself 
across to those who do. The very weakness of modernism is itself 
an indication of the failure of classicism to make intelligible or 
accessible to modern minds and hearts the inner reality of the 
faith. 

It is profoundly true that the problems of the Muslim world 
cannot be adequately met unless men have an intellectual honesty, 
self-critical humility, and some kind of effective faith. Yet it is also 
true that they cannot be solved unless men are aware of what the 
problems are. Our study here would suggest that Gibb is right at 
least for the Arab world in stating that "the future of Islam rests 
where it has rested in the past” — on the orthodox ‘ulama’}^° But 
as he goes on to say, they have yet to come to grips with the modern 
world. 

The first editor and his group themselves partially sensed this 
failure to communicate with modern men. Their insistence that 
the drift from religion is due to a lack of awareness of what true 
religion really means, is in a sense valid — but in a sense much 
more profound than they themselves realize. They have no inkling 
of the real gulf that separates their exposition from modern men- 
tality and modern life. Al-Khidr Husayn’s firm idealist persuasion 
is both his strength, as we have seen, and his weakness. The weak- 
ness has to do with the fact that, his own conviction being so 
positive and clear, he is seriously out of touch with those who do 
not share it.^®^ He expresses the point himself — referring to an 
accusation that the community’s material backwardness is due to 
the religion — using terminology that is meant to be rhetorical, but 
is in fact revealing: “I do not know how anyone can imagine” such 

ISO op. cit., p. 122. 

181 Even, not being able to conceive that anyone who really apprehends 
it departs from true (orthoprax) Islam except from a base motive, he is 
occasionally led to insinuations against opponents. An example: 3:4-6. This 
article is below the usual humane and high moral level of this writer. 

152 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


things.^®^ It is true that he does not know. He cannot conceive 
what it is that the modernizers have in mind, nor grasp their point 
of view. He reiterates his certitude that ignorance is the cause of 
men’s belittling or deserting Islam.^®® This may be true in the 
platonic sense. The problem is that modern men are not platonists. 
He evinces no recognition that the truth that he so clearly sees 
may need restating in modern terms; the steps of his arguments 
are not so much in question as the old logic itself. 

His writings can hardly function for men who use quite differ- 
ent categories of thought, who unconsciously attach different mean- 
ings to the same words. There is what might be mistaken for 
almost a touch of complacency in his assurance that the spread of 
(classical) knowledge is the answer to the drift away from religion: 
“If the authorities take good care of religious instruction through- 
out the schools; if the ‘ulama’ sharpen their pens in defence of the 
shari'ah against those who attack and misrepresent it; if fathers 
follow God’s guidance and preserve their children from schools 
established to shut them off from the right way;’’^®^ all will be well. 
In investigating the Baha’i heresy he feels that it would get no- 
where if religious instruction in schools were compulsory.”® 

To list as the 'ulama' ’s prime duty the setting forth of the basic 
tenets and ordinances of Islam convincingly”® is really to beg the 
question. For the problem is how to do this. The entire journal 
bears its testimony to the need in which men today are flounder- 
ing: need for leadership, need for a way of life and an attitude to 
life that will satisfy; specifically, the need for an interpretation of 
Islam that can be embraced. This kind of writing hardly recog- 
nizes that need in all its profundity, nor begins to grasp how vast 
a transformation is required in the forms and paraphernalia of 
religion if it is to cross effectively the appalling chasm that sepa- 
rates modern man from it today. 

He does not cater to nor at all envisage that epitome of the 
contemporary religious problem, the modern man who wants to 
believe but cannot. 


182 1:247. 

188 E.g., in his careful discussion, “Turning Away from Religion: its Causes, 
its Results, and its Cure,” vol. 1, no. a, pp, 3-9 {sic; lege 83-89. Cf. footnote 
to the page of errata following 1:160); and elsewhere frequently. 

18 * 1:89 (on pagination, cf. the preceding ref.). 

”8 1:369-70 (first series). 

188 1:88 (on pagination, cf. ref. 183 just above). 


153 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


The remark levelled at al-Khidr by his successor in the editorial 
chair shows how large is the group who fail to appreciate what the 
former is driving at. Wajdi in a late volume looks back over the 
journal’s history and says that when it first appeared it was heartily 
welcomed by the Muslim world “even though” it was confined to 
the traditional religious pattern. It did not, in its first period, he 
avers, “plunge into that cultured scepticism, borne of caustic mod- 
ern knowledge, that has found its way into men’s hearts”; though 
“the readers were aware of the pressing need.”’^®^ The accusation 
is not without justice. And apparently the circulation of the 
journal did double soon after the new editor took charge;^®® by 
1937 he was able to claim that the journal had “reached a degree 
of circulation never before attained by any monthly journal in 
the East.”^®® Even though he may have less to offer it, he is not 
wrong in thinking that he is more closely attuned to the new age. 

Whenever the classical group deals, as it often does, with reli- 
gious questions nowadays in dispute, these are given serious and 
sincere consideration. Nonetheless, while the orthodox Islamic 
position is ably expounded, an inability to appreciate the ques- 
tioning modernist’s approach is apparent.^®® We have earlier cited 
a presentation of the teleological argument for God that is striking 
for the reverential quality and sensitive perception of its over- 
tones.^’- This, however, goes with an intellectual argument that 
has long since been answered.^®® 

A similar dichotomy prevails through much of this writing: 
between an excellence on the emotional, aesthetic, and moral side 
on the one hand, and on the other an inadequacy from the point 
of view of those of the journal’s readers who are familiar with the 
modern world. The inadequacy, indeed, is both intellectual and 
social. 

For example, one of the Azhar scholars, in an article^®® on the 

“718:5. “sCf. 18:3-4. ““8:3. 

E.g., al-DijwI, 1:14, opening parag;raphs; and 1:43-53. 

701 Above, at ref. 7a. 

“2 Through this, and many more of the numerous articles contending that 
nature is marvellous and therefore is created by God, one hears the persistent 
ticking of Paley’s watch. 

i:ii6-ai. The article’s subtitle, "It is the Effective Remedy for the Worst 
Ills of Human Society,” and the conclusion (i:iai, last paragraph) read as 
apologetics. Yet the function otherwise is to argue for the zakdh so that it 
will be practised and its benefits enjoyed, rather than to vindicate it theo- 


^54 



THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 


Islamic alms tax, zakah, mentions the institution as such only 
rather casually; the thesis is addressed almost entirely directly (in 
the second person) to those who have wealth, and is a vigorous 
plea for generosity, as essential to both individual and social well- 
being. There is an unusually accurate sensitivity to the plight of 
the poor, for whom the writer exhibits a genuine and immediate 
concern. Though economic assistance is deemed the chief it is not 
the only point at which for him social solidarity is requisite. 
Brotherhood and understanding amongst men are in themselves 
effectively urged. This makes much better reading than the ubi- 
quitous attempts to prove that zakah solves all modern problems 
of economic justice. Nonetheless, that there are rich and poor, 
and a great gulf fixed between them, is accepted as presumably 
inevitable and even as ordained of God. Socialist-minded readers, 
therefore, would dismiss the article as worthless or reactionary; 
readers sensitive to a need for both human sympathy and economic 
reorganization would admire its power in the one regard but miss 
modernity in the other. There is simply no awareness that modern 
applied science has revolutionized the possibilities before human 
society in this respect, entirely transmuting the objective situation 
from what it was when the classical version of Islam was formed. 
Even less is there any wrestling with the theological and legal 
problem that this fact involves. Those who know that the modern 
world is fundamentally new are left perplexed and without 
guidance. 

Furthermore, the emotional vigour and sincerity and the devo- 
tion to envisioned ideals of these writers operate, of course, also in 
their conservativisms. Here, too, their defence is not sentimental 
but dynamic.^®^ 


retically. (There is also, in passing, a concern lest poverty lead to "the ngly 
demon of bolshevism,” 1:118). 

This comes out, for instance, in an anonymous denunciation (“A Book 
that Rejects God’s Revelation,” 1:598-606) of a proposal to reform the legal 
status of women. Apparently a book on this subject, by a lower graduate of 
the famous Zaytunah Mosque, Tunis, attracted some favourable attention 
in both Tunis and Cairo, though condemned by the orthodox. Its thesis was 
that a distinction should be made between the nucleus of the Islamic revela- 
tion, that for the purpose of which it came, on the one hand, and on the 
other the less central parts of historical Islam that show the influence of 
conditions of the Prophet’s time and that can be altered with temporal 
development. It would put monotheism and high morals in the former cate- 
gory; but polygamy, discrimination in women’s inheritance, and such in 


^35 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


But we need not belabour the point. It is well known, in the 
Muslim world as elsewhere, that the traditional religionists have 
lost the power to speak intelligibly and convincingly to or about 
the modern world.^”' 

The Ikhwan 

The reaction to attack is visible also in the new activist move- 
ments, chiefly the Ikhwan al-Muslimun (“Muslim Brethren,” The 
Muslim Brotherhood). It does not constitute the whole explana- 
tion of these, but contributes a very significant part. To regard the 
Ikhwan as purely reactionary would, in our judgement, be false. 
For there is at work in it also a praiseworthy constructive en- 
deavour to build a modern society on a basis of justice and human- 
ity, as an extrapolation from the best values that have been 
enshrined in the tradition from the past. It represents in part a 
determination to sweep aside the degeneration into which Arab 
society has fallen, the essentially unprincipled social opportunism 
interlaced with individual corruption; to get back to a basis for 
society of accepted moral standards and integrated vision, and 
to go forward to a programme of active implementation of popular 
goals by an effectively organized corps of disciplined and devoted 
idealists. It represents in part a determination to sweep aside the 


the latter. It states that this second division “ ‘cannot even be considered a 
part of Islam”’ (i;Goi, quoting the book). Islam “ ‘in its essence is aiming 
at complete justice and the spirit of what is supremely right'” (i:6oa, id.), 
and accordingly should accept monogamy and the principle of social equality 
of the sexes now that the time for these is ripe. 

This position is rigorously rejected. It is rejected partly on the basis of 
indignation at one man’s discarding Islamic ordinances on subjective grounds; 
and partly, of course, because the writer’s fervid feeling is that the proposed 
reform would not be for the better. ‘‘The author,” he writes, refusing the 
principle of conscience, "has invented this opinion, to use it as a ground for 
rejecting every injunction in Islam . . . that does not suit his taste” (1:602). 

^ (Cf. below, chap. 4, ref. 24.) There is also a statement emphasizing how the 
orthodox practice is good and right. 

Cf. Gibb, op. cit., p. 122. 

196 Fqj. a very full bibliography on this movement, see the master’s thesis 
of H. A. Nashshabah (ref. 2, chap. 2 above). To it (1955) should now be 
added the English translation, Beirut, 1956 (not yet available to the present 
writer) of Isflaq Musii al-Busayni’s Arabic study there listed; also, Werner 
Caskel, "Western Impact and Islamic Civilization,” in Gustave E. von Grune- 
baum, ed.. Unity and Variety in Muslim Civilization, Chicago, 1955, pp. 335- 
348, A forthcoming doctoral dissertation of R. Mitchell, to be submitted to 
Princeton University, will presumably supersede other studies. 

136 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

inactive reverence for an irrelevant, static, purely transcendental 
ideal; and to transform Islam from the sentimental enthusiasm of 
purely inert admirers or the antiquated preserve of professional 
traditionalists tied in thought and practice to a bygone age, into 
an operative force actively at work on modern problems. 

These are important developments. Without them, or some- 
thing to take their place, Arab society in our judgement cannot 
in fact proceed. Without some accepted morale and driving force, 
some effective inspiration directed to concrete opportunities, even 
the best social or national programme will remain on paper, and 
Arab life will continue a romantic debacle. It is in the cogency of 
this answer to some of the community’s most fundamental prob- 
lems that part of the Ikh wan’s appeal has lain. Until some other 
group has emerged with a comparably effective willingness to deal 
with these issues, one may be sure that the Ikhwan may, desjaite 
suppression, endure. So far, apart from the Communists, they are 
the only party to produce an ideal able to call forth on any effec- 
tive scale more than mere lip-service.’-”' 

Nonetheless, the Ikhwan have combined with these virtues two 
major failings. To these their progressive adherents have been 
blind, their opponents exclusively attentive. The first is a lamenta- 
ble lack of a realistic awareness of the actual problems of the 
modern state or its society, let alone solutions to them. 

The Ikhwan are not purely conservative: they have constructed 
modern industries for themselves, which they own and operate, 
and have organized trade unions. However, their published litera- 
ture shows no grappling with the more intricate responsibilities 
of modernity.’”® This is not too important in itself, since technical 
experts can be hired or trained, even if not cheaply or quickly. 
It is a failing that could in principle be remedied, though it must 
first be admitted. What is serious is the Ikhwan’s failure to recog- 
nize that they do not know the answers to modern politico-socio- 
economic questions in detail. So is the assumption that adequate 
answers are available from the past or from the Azhar. And al- 

lor Whether the nationalist Liberation Rally of the 195a revolution, first 
under Muhammad Najib (“Naguib”) and now led by Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasir 
(“Nasser”), will be able to do this, it is too early for the present writer to 
discern. 

The English-knowing reader has available as illustration the translation 
Sayed Kotb, Social Justice in Islam, Washington, 1953. Cf. the review by the 
present writer, Middle Eastern Affairs, New York, 5:392-94 (1954)- 


^57 


THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 


though their policy is not fully clear on this, they have certainly 
suggested that their programme rests on the conviction that Islam 
in history already has extant and precise answers to all problems. 
Other Muslims,^°“ closer to realities, see that in the modern world 
this is both morally arrogant and practically disastrous. 

The second failing is related to this. In a certain sense it is not 
a failure of the Ikhwan as a movement so much as of the society 
in which it operates. That society has deteriorated to a point where 
violence is almost inevitable. The Ikhwan’s attempt at cure may 
only provide an opportunity for that violence. The reafhrmation 
of Islam endeavours to counter the failure of modern life but 
may not succeed in transcending it. Unfortunately, for some of the 
members of the Ikhwan and even more for many of their sympa- 
thizers and fellow-travellers the reaffirmation is not a constructive 
programme based on cogent plans and known objectives, or even 
felt ideals; but is rather an outlet for emotion. It is the expression 
of the hatred, frustration, vanity, and destructive frenzy of a people 
who for long have been the prey of poverty, impotence, and fear. 
All the discontent of men who find the modern world too much 
for them can in movements such as the Ikhwan find action and 
satisfaction. It is the Muslim Arab’s aggressive reaction to the 
attack on his world which we have already found to be almost 
overwhelming — tire reaction of those who, tired of being over- 
whelmed, have leapt with frantic sadistic joy to burn and kill. 
The burning of Cairo, the assassination of Prime Ministers,^”^ 

1 '’“ This is based on personal conversations in Cairo. However, one may 
refer to the published work, 'J'Sha Ilusayn and others, Ha’ula’ hum al-Ikhwdn, 
n.p., n.d. (Cairo, c. 1954). Very recently one or two Ikhwan publishing trends 
have indicated a greater readiness to recognize that some modern social and 
other problems are not easy of solution. Nonetheless a fundamental reassess- 
ment of the meaning of revelation is perhaps involved before this matter can 
be seriously tackled. 

January 26, 1952. We do not suggest that the Ikliwan as an organization 
or individually were responsible for the rioting. Neither do we underestimate 
tlie emotional provocation for the outburst. Our thesis is rather that there 
has been an emotional relation between such explosive violence (“dynamism”) 
and the Ikhwan’s reassertion of Islam when that reassertion has not been 
accompanied with a rigorous intellectual and numinous reawakening. Simi- 
larly in the next two references, the Ikhwan officially disapproved the involve- 
ment of individuals from its membership ranks. 

Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi, assassinated Dec. 28, 1948. Cf. J. Heyworth- 
Dunne, Religious and Political Trends in Modern Egypt, Washington, 1950, 
p. 69; George Kirk, The Middle East ip^^-ip^o, London, Survey of Interna- 
tional Affairs, 1954, p. 292. 


1^8 



THE ARABS; ISLAMIC CRISIS 

the intimidating of Christians,^"^ the vehemence and hatred in their 
literature^'”’ — all this is to be understood in terms of a people who 
have lost their way, whose heritage has proven unequal to moder- 
nity, whose leaders have been dishonest, whose ideals have failed. 
In this aspect, the new Islamic upsurge is a force not to solve prob- 
lems but to intoxicate those who cannot longer abide the failure 
to solve them. 

The leaders of the Ikhwan and to a considerable degree the 
movement’s official literature are not directly responsible for this 
emotionalism and violence, and indeed have on occasion taken 
steps to restrain it. It is still perhaps too early yet to make a pro- 
nouncement on the Ikhwan, to discriminate between good and 
bad factors apparently working together in its upsurge and still 
to sort themselves out: real religion and neurotic fascism, honest 
idealism and destructive frenzy. It would be wrong to deny the 
former, and perhaps dangerous to ignore the potentiality of the 
latter. 

In our discussion of “dynamism” in recent Islam above we were 
tentative in including under that heading this movement and 
its Pakistan counterpart the Jama'at group, to which we shall re- 
turn. The announced programme of these organizations and the 
temper of their better leaders are rationalist (formalist, legalist) 
rather than vitalistic. Yet it would seem to an outside observer 
that those programmes nevertheless function for many who 
applaud them not as rational policies genuinely accepted as de- 
liberate solutions to problems responsibly faced, but rather as 
symbols around which cluster “Islamic” emotions irrationally 
stirred. In a disintegrating social situation the vigorous assertion 
of a revolutionary principle, in this case a revitalized Islam, may 

202 Based on personal conversations with Egyptian Christians and Church 
authorities. 

203 One example, among many: Muhammad Qutb, Shubuhat hawl al-Isldm, 
Cairo, 1954. This book is bitter, blind, furious; see especially its longest chap- 
ter, "Islam — and Woman,” pp. 94-135. Most Westerners have simply no ink- 
ling of how deep and fierce is the hate, especially of the West, that has gripped 
the modernizing Arab. (The "Conclusion” of the book is also noteworthy. 
How are we to achieve this dream? — it asks; and answers, By faith. We do 
not need arms, tanks, planes, to regain our past glory. A handful of men, 
with faith, troubled the impotent British empire at the canal. They did not 
need heavy arms for that. If we can regain our disciplined faith, we shall, 
as did the early Muslims, defeat the great empires of the world. We can hold 
the balance between the great powers of East and West.) 


^59 



THE ARABS: ISLAMIC CRISIS 

be either constructive or, as Communism has shown, desperately 
misleading. 

We leave the Arabs, then: still under attack, still reacting to an 
insecurity almost greater than they can bear. Islam is still ex- 
pressed for many, especially outside the cities and amongst the 
best at al-Azhar, in the classical tradition: an alive and great and 
ancient force. For the more modern world, it is still struggling to 
find an expression for itself: in modernism, but vapidly; in the 
intelligentsia, but casually; in the Ikhwan, but explosively. 

The crisis of the Arabs is acute. And within it, the crisis of Islam 
is acute. Its greatest problem is the degree to which those who in 
the fullest sense know the religion have largely lost contact with 
the modern world, and those genuinely oriented to modernity 
have largely lost contact with their religion. 

Meanwhile, the attack continues. The West, immense factor in 
Arab life, continues to bully, to disparage, to accuse, and to 
betray.®"* 

The humour and charm of the Arab heart, the finesse of the 
Arab mind, the warmth and sensitivity and brilliant imagination 
of the Arab spirit, are under a cloud. 

204 This sentence is of general relevance, but was induced by the appalling 
international developments of the summer of 1956. 


160 



TURKEY: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

The people of Turkey are Muslims. 

This fact is well enough known. That it is a deeply significant 
fact has been less widely appreciated. An understanding of the 
modern Turks as Muslims has of late been little cultivated, either 
by Western students or by the other Islamic peoples. Yet it is 
essential for any valid appreciation not only of post-revolutionary 
Turkey, but even more of what is our basic interest throughout 
this study: the present-day development of Islam. Any Muslim, 
or any outside observer, who would come to grips with the ques- 
tion of Islam in the modern world, must take very seriously the 
Islam of the twentieth-century Turks. 

The people of Turkey not only are Muslims, but for many 
centuries now have been of all Muslims the chief. It is they who 
for long have primarily carried Islam and given it greatness and 
vitality in the world of men. Continuous "(vith this historic fact is 
a present potentiality. In the new religious formulation to which 
the modern world, in Islam as in other faiths, is struggling to give 
birth, the Turks may still be Muslim protagonists. 

Our concern here is to present and to investigate those aspects 
of the religious situation in modern Turkey on which the latter 
possibility rests — in sum, the possibility of a Turkish reformation 
in Islam. 

Certainly, we shall argue, the Turks have not renounced Islam 
but re-viewed it. 

Both in theory and in practice, the Turks’ version of Islam 
today is different from other Muslim peoples’. It is, we believe, of 
major significance in itself; as we shall presently try carefully to 
understand. Also, its very differentiation from the others is signifi- 
cant; and this too needs clarification. It is, of course, not unrelated 
to the fact that the historical context is different, both present 
and past. Quite apart from religious interpretation, the Turks 
stand out from among other Muslims both for their current activi- 
ty and development, their revolutionary prosecution of modern 
life, and for their past role in Islamic history, especially in recent 
centuries. As with other Muslims, their understanding of Islam 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

is enmeshed with their understanding of Islamic history, and their 
participation in it. These have been markedly distinctive. 

In our second chapter, in our swift survey of Islam in recent 
history, many generalizations about trends had to be qualified 
with the caveat, “except for the Turks.” It is not that the Turks 
have stood outside modern Muslim development. Rather, with a 
unique orientation they have in many ways outpaced it. Much of 
what characterizes other Muslims in the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries, the Turks underwent in the eighteenth and nineteenth. 
Other developments, however, have been strikingly their own. We 
cannot here examine the course by which Turkey has reached its 
present religious position.’^ One may, however, point out that it 
included much that is typical but also much that is distinctive. 
Modern Turks studying contemporary Islamic developments else- 
where recognize a great deal as recalling aspects of their own now 
outgrown history. To a considerable extent, however, the charac- 
teristic quality of the Turks in the modern Muslim world seems 
to rest on the uniqueness of their immediate past. (The prime 
matter here is continuity: the unbroken sequence from their 
mediaeval grandeur, including a persisting independence — and 
therefore active responsibility.) 

We cannot follow, therefore, those who forecast that other 
Muslim countries will necessarily follow where the Turks have 
led. Other Muslim peoples are free to work out their own develop- 
ment, Islamic and other; and are responsible for it. Or, in so far 
as they are not free, they are bound by the particularities of their 
individual situation and their local heritage. ‘To go the way of 
the Turks’ in modernization is a solution being canvassed by 
some in Cairo, Karachi, and Jakarta. But it is only one possibili- 
ty — and is not even easy, let alone inevitable. It would, for 
instance, be presumptuous to predict that there will prevail a 
decision such as that of the Turks, to abandon the whole concept 
of a specific Islamic prescription of social pattern, and to accept 
a separation of religious and politico-economic institutions. Even 
those deeply convinced that in the modern world any alternative 
endeavour is bound to fail cannot infer that therefore this solu- 
tion will be chosen. 

Neither can we follow those at the other extreme, who feel that 

1 See chap, a, ref. 38 above. 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

since the Turkish interpretation of Islam is new and distinctive, 
it is therefore false. 

Our contention is much simpler, and indeed more obvious: 
that however the rest of the Islamic world may or may not develop, 
the fact that one section of it, a section of major importance, is 
developing in this way is and will remain a matter of prime sig- 
nificance. The significance is religious as well as social. If other 
Muslim societies imitate or approximate the Turkish handling of 
the faith, clearly this will be notable. If they do not, the very 
variety introduced into modern Islam by this radical development 
will be ineluctable and striking. Already the Turkish interpreta- 
tion of religion, implicit if not overt, is an emergence of real 
moment in Islam. 

This much can hardly be gainsaid: that the Turks are the only 
Muslim people in the modern world who know what they want. 
Theirs is the only Muslim nation that has evolved intellectual and 
social foundations that in the main they can and do regard as 
substantially adequate to modernity. We have argued that Islam 
as a religion takes history very seriously. The Turkish segment of 
Islamic history is the only one in the contemporary period that 
those involved in it can look upon without misgiving. The Turks 
are the only Muslims who can regard their participation in mod- 
ern Islamic history as reasonably effective. 

This is of not only temporal interest. The Islamic tie between 
religion and history, which we have stressed, makes religiously sig- 
nificant the historical success of the Turkish revolution. For 
Muslims, it renders theologically precarious if not intolerable any 
glib judgement that such success has been the historical, mundane 
counterpart of a Turkish weakening or distorting of true Islam. 
For any student, if the tension between faith and history lies, as 
we have suggested, close to the heart of the modern Muslim di- 
lemma, then the success of the Turks’ coming to terms with 
modern history must impel a rather heedful study also of their 
relation to the faith. 

Such a study must be in two parts. For as we have already sug- 
gested, the role of Islam in Turkish history today has something 
to do with the role of the Turks in Islamic history yesterday. If 
we consider first the modern Turkish orientation to Islamic his- 
tory, we gain some helpful clarification for our examination then 
of their present salient interpretation of religion. Indeed, a failure 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

to appreciate this last, and in the extreme case a rejecting of the 
modern Turkish version of Islam altogether as negligible or false, 
have often reflected a failing in historical as well as religious 
viewpoint. 

Two illusions then go hand in hand. Stated summarily, these 
are: first, the idea that Islam went through its ‘golden age’ at the 
beginning of its career, the significant period of its history com- 
ing to an end in what is now the fairly distant past — in effect, 
before the Turks came substantially on the scene; and secondly, 
the idea that in the twentieth century, when Islam is now felt 
to be pulling itself out of its subsequent torpor and is once again 
on the move, undergoing its ‘renascence,’^ the Turks have rejected 
Islam. 

In such a position, a narrow, inadequate concept of Islamic 
history is coupled with a circumscribed and rigid interpretation of 
Islamic faith. The richness and continuity of the former are lost, 
and with them the richness and variety of the latter. The attempt, 
in both history and faith, is to impose a small and static idea upon 
a large and dynamic reality. Any understanding of Islam is partial 
that is not comprehensive and flexible enough to embrace the 
Turkish instance, both past and present. 

The Turks and Islamic History 

Let us consider the first of these “illusions.” The ‘golden age’® 
interpretation of Islamic history is widespread. Indeed, it is vir- 
tually standard among non-Turks. With a narrow attention fixed 
on the pristine brilliance of Muslim civilization in its first cen- 
turies, it would hold that Islam, both in cultural expression and 
in religious interpretation, early reached its zenith; and thereafter 
has been either static, or decadent. In this view the earthly great- 
ness, and almost one might say the earthly truth, of Islam lies in 
the remote past. Islamic history is looked upon as a grand achieve- 
ment — not only for the admired attainments of its erstwhile par- 
ticipants, but an achievement also in the primary sense of some- 
thing perfected, finished. The outworking of this thesis is that to 

® On this spelling cf. ref. 1 1 below. 

® The phrase is used by Muslim historians today; e.g., al-'asr al-dhahabt, for 
the early ‘Abbasi period (132-232 A.H./750-847 a.d.), 5 asan Ibrahim klasan, 
Ta'rikh al-Isldm al-siyasi wa al-dtni wa al-lhaqdfi wa al-ijtimd'i, 3 volL, Cairo, 
1935-46 (and in subsequent edd.), introd. to the first ed. of vol. 2, p. 3. 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

Islamic history, in any meaningful, dynamic sense of the word, 
Muslims since the fall of Baghdad (1258), or the like, have been 
heirs rather than contributors. At some such date, it is implied, 
Islamic history proper comes to an end. 

This interpretation, even if not so formulated into a blunt 
doctrine, yet underlies many a working assumption and colours 
many an attitude. That the Arabs are prone to it is perhaps under- 
standable enough. Their own history can indeed be fitted into 
some such scheme with hardly more violence than is customary 
in schematizing any history. And we have already noted the situa- 
tion motivating them to stress and glorify the classical period of 
Islamic history; and inhibiting them from giving attention to the 
less attractive, if no less significant, centuries that followed. The 
attitude is exemplified in such modern Arab works as the popular 
one by the recent professor of Islamic history and head of the 
History department at Cairo University, boldly entitled The His- 
tory of Islam, which closes with the fall of Baghdad;* or the well 
known series of Ahmad Amin, presenting The Dawn of Islam (‘to 
the end of the Umawi empire’). The Forenoon of Islam (‘the 
first ‘Abbasi century’), and The High Noon of Islam (‘to the end 
of the fourth century hijri’), but stopping short of what is tacitly 
felt to be the darkening afternoon or evening of the community’s 
development.® 

It is not only the Arabs, however, who adopted this viewpoint. 
We stated in our outline of the history that the mediaeval efilo- 

* Cf. previous ref. 

Fajr al-Islam, Cairo, igag (and in subsequent edd.); I)uhh al-Isldm, 3 voll,, 
Cairo, ig33-36 (and in subsequent edd.), Zuhr al-Islam, 3 voll., Cairo, ig45-53 
(and in subsequent edd.). Shortly before his death this author (1 886-1 gs^), 
lest he be unable to complete the series {Yawm al-Isldm, p. 5), published 
Yawm al-Isldm, Cairo, igsa. This essay might seem at first glance to contradict 
the point that we are here making. However, it devotes but relatively few 
pages to the interval between the fall of Baghdad and the rise of the modern 
Europe-oriented period. Its chief concerns are two: Islam’s early (Arab) 
glory, and its modern problem vis-d-vis the West. It could even be said to 
illustrate rather than to undermine our ‘renascence’ hypothesis for the Arabs, 
developed below. On Ahmad Amin, cf. above, chap, s, ref. 47. 

For a similar point, cf. the most widely read of Arab historians in the West: 
“This general decline of Islamic pic] culture (by the beginning of the thir- 
teenth century) marks the end of the Middle Ages’’ — Philip K. Hitti, History 
of the Arabs, London, ]g46 ed., p. 6830. It is interesting to note also that the 
first four edd. of this work (note the title) carried the story of the Arabs until 
1517 only. The most recent edd. (igsiff.) append a very brief section dealing 
with the Ottoman and modern periods. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

rescence was felt by most Muslims as less 'Islamic’ than the earlier 
classical.® This can be illustrated, for instance, also from India, 
even though it participated in the mediaeval rather than the 
classical. One example is Mali’s great poem The Flow and Ebb of 
Islam’’ to which we have already referred, and which is by any 
standard one of the most characteristic and influential literary 
products of nineteenth-century Muslim India. In brilliantly evok- 
ing the Muslims’ triumphant past, the poet recites their glories 
with illustrative names drawn almost exclusively from the Arabic 
period.® The “ebb” of Islam, of which his eloquence is the lament, 
is that subsequent decline that set in with the fall of Baghdad, 
and in which he felt his people still caught. To this Indian, in 
considering his Islamic heritage, the accomplishments of the 
Mughul civilization in India, or of the post-Mongol Persians in 
Iran, do not come to mind; let alone those of the Ottoman Turks.” 

Examples of this sort, and instances of similar import from the 
work of Western orientalists, could be multiplied, further to docu- 
ment our contention that for many Islamic history is in principle 
the story of something that happened in the past, an early period 
of creativity that came to an end long since. 

In contrast, for the Turks Islamic history is neither remote nor 
stable. Like the Arab Muslims and unlike the Indian, the modern 
Turks have tended to be interested greatly in their own part in 
the history of Islam. That part, distinctively, has been both recent 
and continuing. Unlike the Arabs, who ignore or in principle 
almost deny the history of Islam in the period after the initiative 

“Above, chap, i, pp. 35-58. 

’’ Madd-o Jazr-i Islam, popularly known as Musaddas-i Hdli; cf. above, chap. 
2, ref. 20. 

® Of the various persons paraded in the poem, Na^ir al-Din Tusi is the 
most recent: born 1201 a . d ., he sided with Hulagu in the overthrow of the 
‘Abbasi empire, and leaving works both in Arabic and Persian, died 1274 — 
the only one of the great men recalled by Mali who lived even part of his 
life this side of the fall of Baghdad. So far, indeed, does Elali go in tacitly 
equating Islamic with Arabic culture that he is willing to include two 
Christian Arab intellectuals of Baghdad, Hunayn ibn Ishaq and ‘AH ibn 'ls.\ 
(ninth and early tenth centuries) among his representatives of the ‘flow’ of 
Islam indicating erstwhile Muslim greatness. 

“ Further on this point, cf. the present writer’s “Development of the His- 
torical Consciousness among the Muslims of India in the Modern Period,” 
a paper read at the Conference on Indian Historiography, School of Oriental 
and African Studies, University of London, 1956: the conference papers are 
to be published presently in a volume by that School. 

166 



turkey; ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

in it had been lost by themselves, Turkish Muslims can hardly 
ignore and certainly cannot deny Islamic history before its destiny 
was committed to Turkish hands. True, the nationalist, even 
chauvinist, climate of the first post-Revolution age tended to con- 
centrate their attention on the history of the Turks as Turks. For 
some, this may have taken the marginal form of regarding the 
Turko-Islamic period as a chapter in Turkish history rather than 
in Islamic. Even so, it is the most brilliant and important chap- 
ter. The Turks became great as Muslims. Others, more Islamic- 
minded, might devote attention to the formative Arabic era of 
the religion’s development, or be culturally concerned with the 
Persian contributions. Still, they could hardly fail to be interested 
also, or even primarily, in the Turks’ activities in this field. The 
Turks have been concerned with the Turkish share in the evolu- 
tion of Islam. 

However one may approach it, that part is impressive. The 
impartial observer finds it considerable enough. Turkish thinkers 
themselves have been pushed by patriotic enthusiasm into finding 
it massive. The Turks became great as Muslims. And their great- 
ness was dedicated to the cause of Islam, which they adopted with 
fervour and served with piety and skill. 

They see Turks as reviving, in the Selcuk empire, the then 
crumbling Muslim world on which they advened; reintegrating 
that world at home, and presently, by brilliant conquests under 
various dynasties, taking Islam into wide expansion. As they view 
it, it was Turks (Ghaznavi) who carried Islam to India; as it was 
again a Turk (Babur) who five centuries later revitalized Islamic 
rule there by founding the radiant “Mughul” dynasty. For some, 
it was Turks who essentially threw back the Crusades; and again 
Turks who finally, on the other hand, stemmed the sweep of 
Mongol devastation. Certainly it was they tvho pushed back and 
then overthrew the mighty Byzantine empire, Islam’s longest- 
standing foe; and took Islamic dominion into southeastern Eu- 
rope. They see themselves as having supplied Egypt with ruling 
houses (from the Mamluks to the latest dynasty), as well as having 
for long directly ruled it and other major sections of the Muslim 
world. 

Not only have they contributed this political might and social 
vitality to Islam, and built for Islam and of it great civilizations, 
like the Ottoman with its sixteenth-century splendour. In the 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

development of Islam’s cultural and religious activities also they 
have played their part. Not only have they provided Sufism with 
orderfuls of devout memhers; they have also adorned and ad- 
vanced it with great creative poets. They have produced not only 
generations of zealous Sunnis, but also many a significant doctor 
of the Law. They have worshiped in the mosques, but also have 
raised magnificent mosques in which to worship. 

It would be easy, and even imperative, to dispute details of this 
historical interpretation. Non-Turkish Muslims would be quick, 
for instance, to protest the wide casting of the ‘Turkish’ net. 
Al-Farabi, for example, is a Turk only in a sense in which Mu- 
hammad ‘Ali is not: the one Arab by culture, the other Albanian 
by birth, the claim to both is confused. However, the details are 
not, for the moment, at issue. More important, it might be alleged 
that this reading of the past may be dismissed as simply one more 
instance of a characteristically nationalist-romantic glorification of 
one’s own background, no more responsible or significant than 
comparable efforts on the part of numerous peoples, Arab and 
many others, propagandizing for their past achievements. 

Against this, some discrimination is in order. Whatever the 
romanticism, nonetheless Turks have since the Revolution actu- 
ally been engaged in what seems a greater production of serious, 
critical historiography than any other Muslim people.^® And their 
reading of Islamic history, whatever its validity, is not funda- 
mentally apologetics. They genuinely feel the determinative role 
of Turks in Muslim development; and are not merely trying, like 
many modern Arabs, to persuade themselves and others that they 
have been significant. In fact, under the first impact of revolu- 
tionary iconoclasm they were not particularly proud of this role; 
and many even deprecated the energy that Turks had “wasted” on 
being leaders of Islam. 

They have not only glorified: their self-criticism has been strik- 
ing, and probably unique in contemporary Islam. Their Islamic 
past has been continuous, but not uniformly great. While Europe, 
once far below them in attainment, plunged lustily forward with 
creative energy, Turkey was losing its vitality, and Turks cor- 

Cf. Halil Inalcik, “Some Remarks on the Study of History in Islamic 
Countries," The Middle East Journal, Washington, 7:451-55 (1953): and 
Bernard Lewis, “History-writing and National Revival in Turkey,” Middle 
Eastern Affairs, New York, 4:318-37 (1953)- 

168 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

rupted what they had previously accomplished. Turkish Islam on 
earth became harsh and awry. If Turks have been proud of the 
height of their culture in the sixteenth century, they have recog- 
nized that they allowed it to degenerate and encrust in the eight- 
eenth and nineteenth. 

The fundamental point here is this: that the modern Turkish 
sense of Islamic history is of an unterminated process, with them- 
selves as active participants. They see it as a long-range develop- 
ment, with much of which they have latterly been intimate, and 
for much of which they have latterly been responsible. 

All this has religious corollaries. A larger, fuller, truer under- 
standing of Islamic history means, whether tacitly or obviously, 
another interpretation of the faith. To see Islamic history not 
decapitated but continuing, and to feel it not exteriorized but 
existentially, is perhaps to face its modern period with more 
personal integration and effectiveness? 

However that may be, certainly with divergent attitudes to 
history go differing understandings of what Islam is. And any 
answer, conscious or implicit, seriously given in the modern world 
to the question as to what Islam really is, is important. The Turks’ 
particular understanding is, therefore, worth considerable effort 
to discern. 

Concomitant with the distant-golden-age feeling about Islamic 
history has usually been the conviction or assumption that Islam 
as a religion was fully worked out in its early centuries. For such 
a position, Islam is what the Arabs long ago made it. 

In the more dynamic view, human understanding of Islam is a 
long-range evolution, still in process. 

The distinction cannot be pressed too rigidly. There are many 
exceptions, and many shades of variation. Yet the question of the 
general direction of loyalties is, we believe, significant. The Arabs 
glorify classical Arabism, which produced, or even is summated 
in, classical — that is orthodox — Islam. Persian sophisticates glorify 
the Achaemenians, who were not Muslim at all. The Pakistanis 
and Indonesians have not yet defined their past, yet think of erst- 
while Islamic greatness as something, if not remote from them- 
selves as a people, at least transcending them greatly. Against this 
the Turks, if they would glorify — in addition to whatever fan- 
tasies of Turkish or pseudo-Turkish pre-Muslim history they may 
allow themselves — so far as Islam is concerned glorify a period 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

whose evolution produced no fixed form, and that can be looked 
upon as still incomplete. 

■ It is perhaps not misleading to epitomize the divergence in a 
discrimination between the concepts ‘renascence’ and ‘reforma- 
tion.’ Taking these terms as signifying respectively the reviving of 
an ancient reality that has lapsed, and the modifying of an existing 
one that has gone wrong, then the former idea applies more aptly 
to the modern mood of other Muslims, particularly Arabs and 
Indo-Pakistanis, the latter to the Turks. The others, in their 
attitude to Islamic society on earth, are thinking of an ancient 
glory that they wish to recapture; the Turks of a recent misde- 
velopment that they wish to rectify. 

It is standard in modern Arabic to use the same term (nahdah) 
for the European Renascence^^ and for the age of modern revitali- 
zation through which the Arabs are now conscious of living. Simi- 
larly in Indo-Pakistan, Iqbal is typical when he writes: “If the 
renaissance of Islam is a fact, and I believe it is a fact. . . 

Nonetheless, there is an important difficulty here. Analogies 
are seldom close, and it is hazardous to correlate too firmly. In- 
deed, the very differences can be illuminating. For the Renascence 
in Europe, the re-birth of classicism, was a revival of ideas and 
attitudes, particularly humanist. The Greek achievement was 
primarily intellectualist. These ideas and attitudes proved im- 
mensely creative, in their second birth as in their first. But what 
they created in the second instance, the social institutions, laws, 
etc., were new; relevant to the new age of the Modern West. The 
renascence of Islam, on the other hand, has to a significant degree 
meant to many Arabs and Pakistanis a revival of the institutions 

The French spelling Renaissance was adopted also in both German and 
English when this concept of the French romantics was introduced into Euro- 
pean thought in the nineteenth century and popularized greatly by Burck- 
hardt and Syraonds — even though these concentrated on Italy as its source 
(Jules Michelet, Histoire de France, vol. 8, Renaissance, Paris, 1855: Jakob 
Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in lialien, Leipzig, i860; J. A. 
Symonds, The Renaissance in Italy, London, 1875-86). Matthew Arnold pled 
for the form “Renascence” {Culture and Anarchy, London, 1869, § 4). There 
has been some hesitation in accepting the anglicized form of the metaphor to 
designate the European instance. Yet it seems clear that the neutral term is 
more reasonable for other ‘re-births’ in human history; and we prefer it in 
all cases. 

12 Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, 
1944 ed., Lahore, p. 153. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

of their classical age. We have stressed throughout that Islam is 
less an intellectualist religion than a sociological. Its tangible 
manifestation is laws and social structure. Perplexity ensues be- 
cause the very problem of modernity lies in the fact that the in- 
stitutions of the seventh to tenth centuries do not seem effective 
or relevant in the twentieth. Some would perhaps argue that the 
notion of renascence is more valid for philosophies; that of refor- 
mation for religions.^® 

The latter concept also cannot, of course, be correlated too 
closely with the European instance. The ‘Reformation’ in Chris- 
tian history used the notion of a chronologically pristine purity 
in the church as a criterion for judging and reforming, re-fashion- 
ing, what had grown old and inadequate. The Protestant re- 
formers were in fact innovating when they thought that they were 
resuscitating. In contrast, part of our point here has precisely 
been that whereas the Arab dream is of restoration, the modern 
Turks consciously talk of novelty {teceddut, later yenilik). 

The content of this novelty, and the talk about it, we shall 
later explore. For the moment, we simply call attention to the 
Turkish disposition to revise. 

When European armies began to defeat theirs on the battle- 
field, and European diplomatic, economic, and much other pres- 
sure began to crush and threatened to overwhelm them, the Turks 
did a quite remarkable thing. They started to ask themselves what 
was wrong with their own way of life, what were the weaknesses 
that allowed this to happen. They set about — in the end success- 
fully — to remedy those weaknesses, to transform their society into 
one that would be viable in the modern world as it is. They are 
not unaware that this stern realism (as well as its success) stands 
in contrast to the moralizing response which certain other Muslim 
peoples and other orientals made to a similar situation: the 
offended cry — quite valid, of course, but not necessarily effective — 
that this Western encroachment ought not to happen, and the 
appeal, to God, to the world at large, or to the conscience of the 
conquerors, to reverse it because it was wrong. The Turks’ deter- 

However, it would also be possible to argue that a true renascence for 
Islam would consist in a renewal not of the particular judgements and institu- 
tions of early Muslims, but of their sense of moral imperative, of their over- 
whelming reverence before the ‘oughtness’ of things. Yet without the supple- 
ment of a discerning intelligence and rational restraint in the implementation 
of this sense of duty, the dynamist movements show, this too fails. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 


mination was to reverse it themselves, because their self-preserva- 
tion was at stake. 

For self-preservation they were determined — and, surprisingly, 
also willing — to go to any lengths requisite in re-fashioning them- 
selves and their community. While other Muslims, suffering from 
the domineering of Europe, insisted that something was wrong 
with Europeans, the Turks devoted their attention to finding out 
what was wrong with themselves. 

One of their judgements was that a major obstacle not only to 
progress but to the very continuance of their life as a nation was 
the form into which they had been building Islam. That form, 
then, must be undone. 

Few deny that the Turks have been dramatically successful in 
re-making themselves into a dynamic nation able to stand on its 
own feet in the modern world. The indictment, however, voiced 
both by orthodox Muslims in the East and by observers such as 
Toynbee^* in the West, is that in the process they are losing their 
own soul. 

This brings us to our second “illusion”: the belief that the 
Republican Turks of our day have renounced Islam. 

Islam in Turkish Secularism 

Not only are the Turks thought by some to have entered the 
course of Islamic history in the past after that history was, signifi- 
cantly, over. In the present they are supposed to have withdrawn 
from it just as it is significantly recommencing. Far from being 
credited, then, with playing a significant and determinative role 
in Islamic development, they are quietly disqualified from any 
role at all. 

That the modern Turks, in choosing secularism, have thereby 
rejected Islam, has not had much support from serious students 
of the subject, either in the East or in the West. It is, however, a 
general impression of wide prevalence, amongst both Europeans 
and Muslims of other lands. 

The reference is not to the Turkish masses, particularly the 
peasants of Anatolia. These may be presumed to be conservative, 
even tautly so; and may be but slightly or hardly affected by the 

Cf. the essay “Islam, the West, and the Future,” in his Civilization on 
Trial, London, 1948, pp. 184-812. 

iy2 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

new un-Islamic outlook that the lay government has, in this view, 
been thought to be seeking to impose. It is a question rather of 
the ruling class, Atatiirk (“Mustafa Kamal,” as he is still mostly 
known to the rest of the Muslim world) and his modernizing 
entourage — men who in the Revolution threw over the old 
Turkey and all its ways and are seen as deliberately and power- 
fully setting out to build a new. Western, secular (or irreligious, 
or anti-religious) state and society in place of the old Islamic ones. 
It is with this group, the intelligentsia, the bourgeois ^lite, the 
men who made the Revolution and have been carrying through 
its ideals and practical implications, and have enjoyed its fruits — 
it is with this group that our own study is concerned. This is the 
class of persons who in the rest of the Muslim world are earnestly 
facing the quandary of what to do, as Muslims, with life in this 
inordinate world of ours today; or what to do, as moderns, with 
Islam — how to revitalize the traditions and values of their reli- 
gious heritage so that these may be not only meaningful but 
creative in the new environment. In Turkey, it is widely thought, 
they evaded the dilemma by stoutly opting for modernity in toto. 
In this, as in much else, they would have mimicked the West, or 
at least that large group there who, rather than solve the problem 
posed by the tensions of religion in the modern world, have cut 
the Gordian knot and rejected religion. 

This judgement, we believe, is false. But it is not weak. To refute 
it, arguing that the modern “emancipated” Turks have freed 
themselves of much but not fundamentally of Islam, is not super- 
ficially easy. The facts that have lent colour in the popular mind 
to the accusation are well enough known: the abolition of the 
khilafah, 1924; the forcible dissolution of the Muslim religious 
orders and closure of the tekkes, 1925; the substitution of Western- 
based legal codes for the shari'ah, 1926; the emendation of the 
constitution, 1928, deleting the clause that read: “the religion 
of the Turkish state is Islam,”i° and establishing instead “laicism” 
as one of the six cardinal principles of that state; the substitution 
of the Latin for the Arabic alphabet, 1928, and of the Turkish for 
the Arabic call to prayer, 1933; and altogether the general and 

Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, April 20. 1924, Article 2: as 
given in Arnold J. Toynbee and Kenneth P. Kirkwood, Turkey, New York, 

1927, p. 302- 


173 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 


firm circumscribing by law of the role in the country’s life of 
Islam’s traditional representatives and symbols/® 

These and related actions by the new Turkish Republic make 
an imposing list. Patently, they are of a critical significance. So, 
too, is the general attitude to religious matters of the dominant 
group of Turks, which such actions expressed. Whether they must 
together be interpreted as a rejection of Islam is, however, a ques- 
tion to which divergent answers have been given. 

The significant fact is that to this question the answer of the 
Turks themselves is a hearty negative. 

Our observation, in conversations with many representative of 
the group, has been^'^ that with few exceptions they denied, and 
even ridiculed^® the notion that, singly or nationally, they had 
renounced Islam.^“ Even those individuals who, personally free- 
thinking, sceptic, or wistful, would except themselves, yet have 
considered the Turkish educated group as a whole to be Muslim. 
For the rest, their claim to be Muslims has been emphatic; its 
sincerity persuasive. 

Manifestly, these Turks have taken great liberties with their 
religion. Yet they have not, one may believe, abandoned it. And, 
in this view, it is precisely because they have been willing and 
able to take liberties with it, but have not abandoned it, that one 
may insist that they are a significant group for the modern inter- 
im A full and careful account of this will be found in Gotthard Jaschke, 
"Der Islam in der neuen Tiirkci,” Die Welt des Islams, Leiden, 1:1-174 
(1951); cf. also the supplementary material, ibid., 1:195-228; 2:25-61, 126-35, 
143-214, 278-87. 

!’■ The material that here follows is based in part on the present writer’s 
conversations with a number of Turks of the educated classes during a visit 
to Turkey in the autumn of 1948. A preliminary draft of the analysis was 
multilithed and circulated to these and other Turks, and this draft discussed 
with them further in a subsequent visit in 1951. Since these conversations 
were personal and frank, not intended for individual publication, quotations 
from them are given in the remainder of this chapter without the mention 
of any names, and indeed without further reference. The writer feels par- 
ticularly indebted for the openness with which these Turks were willing to 
talk with him of fundamental things. Readers who question the scientific 
validity of undocumented evidence are face to face with one aspect of the 
general problem of the scientific study of religion, on which we touched 
above, chap. 1, reff. 4 and 5. 

18 As often as a denial, any suggestion that the Turks had rejected Islam 
or become irreligious provoked genuine laughter. 

18 “No, there are no atheists amongst us. Certainly no one is preaching 
atheism; or anti-religious ethics. We are laik, not pagan.” 





turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

pretation of Islam. The reformulation of religious truth so as to 
be meaningful and persuasive in the modern world is a serious 
business. It might well seem, in any faith, impossible without 
substantial liberties. Believers among the other Muslims may feel 
that the Turks have gone too far. There are signs that many Turks 
have begun to feel so. But that is a different matter. For the 
moment, our contention is only that Turkish vitality is evident 
also in the religious field. 

The question turns, basically, on whether their vigorous han- 
dling of religious developments since the Revolution has been 
effected against Islam, or within Islam. This, in turn, is a ques- 
tion of whether that revolutionary class, the men and women 
who have brought about “the Turkish transformation’’^" and those 
who now participate in it and approve it, are, or are not, Muslims. 
Individuals, of course, may vary either way. But our submission 
is that, by and large, as a group they are Muslims; that what they 
have done in the last twenty-five years to the status and form of 
religion in Turkey is one more development within Islam, a new 
emergence within its historical, Turkish evolution. 

It would then follow, that what they may yet do — and they 
have by no means finished with their treatment of it — may well 
prove worthy of attention. 

To hold it to be a development within Islam (within historical 
Islam) is not to rule out the possibility that it is a deplorable de- 
velopment. Muslims in other lands, and perhaps other classes of 
Muslims within Turkey, may view it so. Modernist Turks may be 
thought heretics. But the discrimination between an heretical 
Muslim and a non-Muslim is vital. The difference is that of 
whether the Turks have perverted Islam or abandoned it. On 
careful reflection, the latter alternative can hardly be seriously 
maintained. 

From the point of view of other Muslims who are content that 
they have an adequate and final criterion for discerning ‘true’ 
Islam, not only in the past but for all time, it is the former alterna- 
tive that may be chosen. Also for those (Muslims or outside ob- 
servers) who are in quest of such a criterion, who are uncertain 
as to the best or truest form for Islam or for religion in general 

=0 The phrase is a reference to Henry Elisha Allen, The Turkish Trans- 
formation; a study in social and religious development, Chicago, 1935. This 
is the chief earlier study of the issues here under consideration. 


^75 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

in the contemporary flux, the discussion becomes one as to whether 
the new interpretation of Islam that Turkish society is in 
process of creating will be in fact a perversion or, perhaps, an 
advance. 

Amongst those Turks who firmly believe themselves to be 
Muslim, the view of several is, at heart, simply this (and it is held 
with a remarkable unpretentiousness): that they are Muslims — in 
the modern, enlightened manner. What they have got rid of, they 
unaffectedly feel, is not Islam, but on the contrary the distortions 
of Islam under which their country was, for a time, sorely labour- 
ing, and that still weigh on most of the other Islamic lands; and 
the outgrown formal expressions of the religion’s true spirit. 
Chiefly, they feel, they have rid themselves and their religion of 
that tie between church and state which, tliey believe, gave perni- 
cious power to religious authorities (“sunk in vice’’), to interfere 
in political developments and to obstruct the nation’s progress; 
and which, they also believe, corrupted those authorities and in- 
directly perverted the religion. Islam, essentially a religion with 
no priesthood, had, they feel, produced in its historical evolution 
a crust of bigoted, reactionary clergy who exploited the people, 
debauched the government, and misinterpreted the faith. Islam, 
essentially a progressive religion, had, they feel, evolved institu- 
tions and vested interests whose rigidity had for long and with 
great effect obstructed Turkey’s progress; and, when at last a dy- 
namic government came to power intent on activating the country 
into a forward movement of new life and expanding horizons, 
these had led a bristling opposition to all change and striven to 
sabotage progress. If, then, even though it were for political rea- 
sons, for the sake of the country and of the new ideals, Turkey 
had crushed those clerical authorities, abrogated those institutions 
and interests, it had at the same time liberated and rediscovered 
true Islam. 

“Certainly the Turks have not renounced Islam. That is an 
Arab idea. But it is the Arabs who do not know what Islam is.’’ 

"There are three Islams; the religion of the Qur’an, the religion 
of the ulema, and the religion of the masses. This last is super- 
stition, obscurantism, fetishism. The second is bogged down with 
the whole weight of out-of-date legalism — impossible stuff making 
it necessary to get a fetva before one can have one’s teeth filled by 
a dentist. Turkey has got rid of the second. It was time to abolish 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 


it; we have thus led the way for the Muslim world. Islam needs a 
reformation. To this extent Turkey is still in the forefront of the 
Islamic world. The Arabs and others — silly people, still tied down 
with their outworn narrowness — thought that Turkey was re- 
pudiating Islam. Not at all. Turkey simply took the today neces- 
sary, salutary, reforming step of making religion what it should be, 
an individual, personal matter, a thing of the conscience, a matter 
of private faith. The religious feeling is much too strongly im- 
bedded in the human soul for religion to be abolished. We have 
simply freed it.” 

“Certainly we have not renounced Islam. On the contrary, we 
have in Turkey what we believe to be the true Islam — that taught 
by Muhammad (a man, the greatest of men). We have got rid of 
the intermediacy of priests; their contemplation, mediation, is not 
true Islam at all. We really want to understand the religion. With 
the Qur’an in Turkish, we are able to understand better.” 

There is little new in the claim to be purging a religion of 
accretions, to be rediscovering its pristine or essential spirit. Such 
is standard with reformers. More modern, more profound, more 
sensitive, are doubtless those Turkish Muslims who concede the 
original legitimacy of the old religious forms and expressions for 
their own time, but see the new Islam of Turkey as in quest of new 
forms and expressions relevant to the novel modern world. For 
such, it is not a question of calling the old forms formalities, dis- 
tortions, non-essentials; but simply old. They expressed for pre- 
vious generations, perhaps most felicitously and adequately, the 
truth of Islam; but modern man has evolved into a situation where 
these are no longer either felicitous or adequate, where they no 
longer express that truth. They are therefore discarded even by 
those who, warmly, are convinced that that truth is there, and is 
important. But in this case the task of the reformer is very much 
more delicate and responsible; for it is creative. It is not simply 
a matter of going back to an erstwhile purity in religious history; 
but rather of going on, to discover, or to hammer out, new forms 
and new expressions that may embody for our generation the 
truths and values that the heritage has enshrined. 

Some Turkish thinkers feel, as many sensitive thinkers in Chris- 
tendom are feeling, that the religious problem of today is how 
to reinterpret and restate the religious traditions, how to reclothe 
their vitality, so that the modern world in all its poignancy may 


J77 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

participate in and prolong that living experience of which the 
community’s history, theology, and art are the expression; and 
have been, in the past, also the ground. 

In these terms, then, the reformer today is engaged not only in 
rediscovering the original meaning of old symbols but also, in 
finding new symbolizations to convey that meaning anew. At its 
simplest, this is exemplified in translating the call to prayer, and 
even the Qur’an itself, into Turkish. This is obviously a new de- 
velopment. Yet it is one that, they claim, expresses for them what 
the old — perfectly valid, of course, for its own situation — expressed 
for others. “Take a scripture passage such as this: ‘A book whose 
verses have been made clear as a Qur’an in Arabic . . .’ — that is: 
in the vernacular, in the language of the people concerned.’’^^ 

More controversially, this spirit can be detected in suggestions 
or assumptions that the institutions of Islam can and should be 
replaced with new ones more in tune with contemporary condi- 
tions. Already during the 1920’s radical changes in the rites and 
observances of Islam, including its prayer ritual and mosque serv- 
ices, were being officially discussed.^^^ Turks are prepared to con- 
sider such proposals seriously. “Islam was progressive for its time; 
but times and conditions meanwhile have changed.’’ On the theo- 
logical level, thinkers are to be found who recognize that the logic, 
basically Aristotelian, through which orthodoxy was earlier ex- 
pressed has ceased to be an accepted mode of thought, and ceased 
to be an effective instrument of communication. Therefore, they 
feel, if Islam or any any other religion is to make itself under- 
stood, let alone acceptable, to educated men, its propositions will 
have to be formulated in a quite new way. 

As one university official put it: “The classical scholarship of 
traditional Islam, for all its learning, is finished. With it, one can 
today get nowhere; it has been tried and it has failed. It is neces- 
sary to begin all over again with entirely new methods: scientific, 
liberal.” He added; “But I believe that one should base it on feel- 
ing, not on reason.” Another educationalist of weight said: “The 
Muslim world is waiting for a purified, true Islam. We in Turkey 
are ripe for it. . . . We need a new interpretation; and it must be 

21 The tendency has been to go back to the use of Arabic for the call to 
prayer, since this was made legally permissible again from 1950. The use of 
Turkish had been compulsoiy since 1933. 

Cf. Allen, op. cit,, pp, 179-80. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

based on values. A religion that does not base itself on love and 
goodness is nothing. Cleanliness, love amongst men, human 
honesty, and the like. No, the new interpretation cannot be built 
on Aristotelian logic. But then, neither can it be built on scientific 
logic. Science has shown itself incapable of dealing with values. 
The more it advances, the more stark is the realization that it is 
helpless before that side of life. We need a new logic for religion. 
And such a logic will be found — eventually; certainly not swiftly. 
It will be found once we have the men, sensitive and competent, 
really looking for it. It is the men who are lacking.” 

It is only among a few intellectuals that this creative quest is 
self-conscious, this search for new expression of the ancient truth. 
Still rarer is the explicit recognition that, in some senses, the reli- 
gious task today is creative not only of form but of essence. The 
truth of religion is itself developing. This is implied, whether 
recognized or not, in the attitude of those many Turks to whom 
the Islamic tradition is valuable — perhaps in the extreme — ^with- 
out being finally authoritative. For them, to be Muslim in the 
modern world means not only to recover the essential or original 
elements of the Islamic tradition; not only to give those elements 
a new form; but to carry forward the development. The tradition 
is capable of expansion; it may be enriched by the discovery of 
new truth. 

It was partly in order to make intelligible this seemingly so 
daring premiss to belief, this almost unconsciously accepted vital- 
ism, that we insisted above on the continuity of Islamic history in 
the Turkish case. Here is illustrated the fact there brought for- 
ward: that unlike other modern Muslims, Turks have not been 
accustomed to think of Islam as something that in the past was 
completed before their own participation in it. Here we begin 
to see the potential consequences of the fact that to many of them 
Islamic history, even Islam itself, is an active process, a process in 
which their forefathers have for long played a creative and leading 
part, and for which they themselves in the new circumstances of 
the twentieth century may, or even must, choose or carve for them- 
selves a new and appropriate role. 

Such an attitude is immensely reinforced by the success of their 
contemporary revolution. These are men who have made the 
revolution; who, labouring with devotion to actualize a vast and 
radical ideal, have seen a new Turkey arise before their eyes. 


179 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

Their sense of accomplishment is major. And it is real. No in- 
sincere romanticism, it is rather a self-critical attitude emerging 
from the facts, and integrated with them. They set out to effect 
the reformation of their country and they are in process of achiev- 
ing it. They have made mistakes, for which they make no move to 
skirt responsibility; they have made triumphs, xvhich they see as 
their own. They do not talk, perhaps do not clearly think, of this 
sense of accomplishment. More convincing, it unwittingly under- 
lies their conversation; and informs their thought. In nothing has 
the leadership of Turkey differed more profoundly from that of 
other Muslim countries in the last twenty-five years than in this: 
that they speak, with an unassuming naturalness, as a group ac- 
customed to seeing their will effective.^^ 

Modern Turks have been accused of aping Europe, imitating 
the outward ways and appropriating the thoughts of an essentially 
disparate culture. Yet on this point there is no mere imitation, 
no superficial copying of results. These Turks have actually shared 
in what is perhaps the fundamental experience of modern West- 
ern civilization: the experience of remaking one’s environment. 
Man’s heritage is found to be in flux, and man is found able to 
influence or control that flux. Within limits, no doubt. Yet the 
development of society is in the hands of society. Modern Turks, 
like modern occidentals, have through brilliant hard work and 
well-applied intelligence come to feel themselves directors of 
destiny. 

“This is arrogance; this is man’s final sin,’’ certain religious 
voices arraign. The protest is made both in the name of Chris- 
tianity in the West, where the new attitude has wider prevalence 
and longer standing; and by certain Muslim observers in the 
Orient. An intelligent Cairene Muslim commented to us: “The 
Turks, whatever they themselves may feel about it, have rejected 
Islam with a vengeance. For the essence of religion is to submit 
to God’s will, and to accept His revelation — to humble oneself be- 
fore His glory. The Turks, like you Europeans, have defied Him, 
have claimed to order their own lives according to their own 
wishes, as well as to pronounce, themselves, on what is right and 
wrong. Now, in final blasphemy, they would lay hands on religion 

23 For example: several, when asked if the tekkes might be reopened, or again 
if the sharl'ah might be reintroduced, said quite simply, “We will not allow 
it." 

l8o 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

itself: they attempt to fashion Islam into what they would like 
to see it be, and to bend even religion to serve human purposes.” 
Western liberals, too, are familiar with such criticism; and, chas- 
tened by man’s vast failure to build on earth a Kingdom of 
Heaven, pause before it. The disillusionment of liberalism’s splen- 
did hopes, the culmination of ‘‘progress” in two world wars and 
the near devastation of Europe, have sobered dreams, and induced 
attention to those preaching tliat man’s nature is inherently sinful, 
and that all his proudest works must, being human, go awry. The 
greater man’s ambition, we are told, the greater the scope of his 
sin. The attempt to transform the world, to direct history, to 
determine destiny, is the greatest of all man’s conceits — and its 
end, the greatest corru23tion. 

Turkish society, still on its upgrade, has not yet advanced beyond 
goodness and promise into horror; has not yet reached the denoue- 
ment where ex-Christendom’s unbridled passions led; the stand- 
ardless achievements of the Nazis, the immense human degradation 
of the monolithic state, the despair of the faithless libertine. 
Should Turkey, then, here as in so many other fields, profit from 
the West’s example? Should it, before it is too late, learn that, to 
avoid destruction, men must avoid hubris and grandiose ambition, 
and must submit in humble piety to jurisdiction of a divinely, 
not humanly, given order? 

We raise the question at this point only to clarify a matter for 
our present purpose, which is that of describing, analysing, and 
attempting to understand what actually is happening in the 
Muslim countries — whether it should be or not. In this connec- 
tion, we may say that man’s new freedom to create, his power to 
control, may involve a sin; they are nonetheless a fact. And that 
freedom and power, however sinful, cannot be exorcised by de- 
nunciation. An operative religion today must be one that has 
learned to assimilate rather than to decry them. People in Western 
Christendom and in Turkey, and incipiently now throughout 
the world, are determining their own and their nations’ future; 
for good or ill. They may be bungling; that is, creating badness. 
But that is vitally different from not being creative at all. While 
one may wish to distinguish between men who exercise such 
creativity and those who do not, who do not know it or do not 
accept it, it would seem inept to call religious (or Muslim) only 
the uncreative. One must distinguish further, amongst those en- 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

gaged in directing the course of history, even religious history, 
between men who do so religiously and those who do not. 

When we agree with the Turkish modernists that, however 
radical, they are indeed Muslims; when we insist that most of 
those whom we have met and with whom we have discussed these 
things are, however undogmatic, religious persons; part of what 
we mean is this. They seem to us to be adopting the new interpre- 
tations of Islam — and even to be creating or seeking to create or 
hoping that there may be created still newer interpretations — not 
arrogantly but devoutly. Their sense of freedom, acquired through 
the events of their recent history, is fused with a sense of responsi- 
bility, acquired through Islam. 

They are creating something new in the development of Tur- 
key, are moulding themselves and their nation into new patterns 
not derived but invented. Yet they are doing so not simply accord- 
ing to their own desires,®^ but according to what, they feel, is 
good — good, that is, we would argue, in an objective, transcendent 
sense; good in the theological sense, as in accord with the will of 
God. They are creating something new in Islam, evolving out of 
their religious and social heritage new concepts not deduced but 
induced. Yet they are doing so not simply according to their own 
fancies, but according to what, they feel, is true — divinely true. 
They themselves would hardly use this terminology, and the whole 
process is not nearly so self-conscious as this analysis might suggest. 
But the fundamental submission to an absolute criterion is there; 
and is, we feel, of crucial import. 

One of the most creative, and at the same time disastrous, move- 
ments in modern human history is the Communist; which has 
been used, it would seem, in Russia, and potentially throughout 
the world, to build up the gigantic and ruthless power of a nihilist 

There is involved here quite a major theological problem, eventually 
a major political and social problem; in the interpretation of human choice. 
This problem impinges throughout the Muslim world, not always consciously. 
The classical Islamic view has been that man chooses (or judges: hakama) 
either according to revelation or else according to his own desires, passions 
(ahwff). The third alternative, that he choose or judge according to reason, 
is not fully understood by the representatives of the classical Muslim tradition. 
(An illustration of their consequent refusal to accept it; cf. above, chap. 3, ref. 
194.) This is the Greek element, rejected by Islamic orthodoxy. In theological 
terms, we should say that reason is neither subjective nor objective, but is the 
transcendent immanent in man. 


182 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

minority in the Kremlin. It has succeeded (politically) because it 
is creative, calling on man in his poverty and oppression to use the 
new powers that history has acquired, to transform the world and 
to build a new society in accord with his noblest dreams. It has 
failed (morally) because it has been, not in a formal sense but 
basically and really, irreligious. It has rejected not only the forms 
of the world’s religion and their theologies — many need rejection, 
and modern man responds — and not merely the name of God; but 
His reality. For it has recognized no criterion by which it may 
itself be judged. 

In the rank-and-file Party members, there has been often but a 
shallow atheism, a disallegiance to the overt ideas and institutions 
of the historical religions, but with it a fervent piety, pursuing 
justice and beauty without knowing them to be divine. But the 
power in the massive movement has rested with men at the top 
who, apparently, have been not superficially but profoundly 
atheist, have actually repudiated truth and repudiated goodness. 
Except as instruments of power, these have to them been bour- 
geois delusions. These men, standing then at the top of a hierarchy 
rigidly controlling a party that is the vanguard of the class that 
is the highest product so far of the universe’s dialectical process — 
these men are supreme. They bow down to no higher authority. 

To use the Arabic term, la yuslimuna. 

In this sense, then, the leadership of Turkey is not, we submit, 
irreligious. And in this sense, it would seem of fundamental sig- 
nificance that it is not irreligious. It would seem to be of signifi- 
cance, for instance, even for an orthodox Muslim who may deplore 
the modernist Turks’ not submitting to God in the way that he 
believes God has revealed, but could yet welcome the fact that they 
have not, like the true atheist, rejected submission in principle. 

The Content and Problems of Modernism 

Let us not, however, push the argument too far. Turkish non- 
irreligiousness is, we feel, important. Nonetheless, it is, as such, 
negative; and what it represents is at best tenuous and vague. This 
is somewhat true of the whole modernist movement in Turkish 
Islam. Our endeavor to call attention to that movement, and our 
belief that its implications are important, must not mislead us 
into overestimating its substance. Implications are no final substi- 
tute for content. 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

Indeed, it might be objected that to use the term “movement” 
here is overgenerous. There is in Turkey among the ^lite a felt 
need for modernism, a growing sense that something is to be 
searched for. But there is remarkably little positive endeavour to 
meet that need, remarkably little serious searching. 

With an historical approach, it might be contended that the 
present generation of Turkish leaders, though they have jettisoned 
the paraphernalia of Islam, are themselves operating on the mo- 
mentum of its inner spirit, imbibed through the forms and sym- 
bols in their childhood training; whereas the next generation, de- 
prived of the institutions, will prove itself devoid of the spirit as 
well. In this view, the freedom of a quintessential religion evinced 
by today’s dynamic Turks would be not the beginning of a new 
Islamic 6lan but an ethereal end of its long and now disembodied 
tradition. Certainly however mucli one may think one has out- 
grown, or however much one may deplore, the almost standard 
confusion between religious symbols and their meaning, still it 
is not easy to transmit a faith apart from the symbols in which it 
has traditionally been enshrined. 

It is not easy; and, apart from some accepted symbols, perhaps 
it is impossible. 

Anyway, if religion is going to be not only compatible with but 
a guide to creative living, it must not merely rid itself of “impedi- 
ments to progress” but must develop new forms of self-expression. 

Something of this sort has, perhaps, been agitating Turkish 
minds of late. The interpretation that sees the events bearing on 
religion after the Revolution as constituting a Turkish rejection 
of Islam, is currently supplemented by a reading of recent moves 
as indicating a Turkish ‘return to religion.’ In our interpretation, 
these new moves^^ are rather the second and constructive stage in 

25 For accounts of recent developments by outside observers, the first men- 
tioned being a Muslim Arab, see the following: A. L. Tibawi, “Islam and 
Secularism in Turkey Today,” Quarterly Review, London, 609: 325-37 (1956); 
Howard A. Reed, “Turkey’s New Imam-Hatip Schools,” Die Welt des Islams, 
Leiden, 4:150-163 (1955) and “Revival of Islam in Secular Turkey,” The 
Middle East Journal, Washington, 8:267-82 (1954); Lewis V. Thomas, 
“Turkish Islam,” The Muslim World, Hartford, 44: 181-85 (1954) and “Re- 
cent Developments in Turkish Islam,” The Middle East Journal, Washington, 
6:22-40 (1952): Bernard Lewis, "Islamic Revival in Turkey,” International 
Affairs, London, 28:38-48 (1952). (Since this was compiled there has appeared 
the symposium Richard N. Frye, ed., Islam and the West, ’s-Gravenhage, 1957, 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

the continued process of renewal. The first, over some twenty 
years, signalized the Muslim’s repudiation of whatever in the 
Islamic concretion was, for him now, not vital, was not his true 
religion.^® With this repudiation effected, to say that there was 
nothing left is, we have contended, to ignore what is, after all, of 
any religion the chief element: what was in his heart. The religion 
that lives in men’s hearts is of eternal reference. Nonetheless a 
religion that is only in men’s hearts will, in the temporal world, 
presently run dry. 

However interpreted, the recent facts are these. At the end of 
1946 the Republican Government, which for many years had 
prohibited serious public discussion of Islamic matters, allowed 
the question of religious education to be publicly raised; and con- 
sidered it favourably. It decided to reintroduce Islamic instruction 
in the public schools. In 1948 schools to train religious function- 
aries (imams and khatibs) were opened, under state auspices. The 
following year a Faculty of Theology was instituted in the Uni- 
versity of Ankara. 

Meanwhile, a number of periodicals, chiefly weeklies, of a reli- 
gious sort began to appear and were allowed. In 1947, for the first 
time in years, Turks — to whom getting an exit visa and foreign 
exchange is always a considerable formality — ^were given permis- 
sion and funds and facilities to go on the pilgrimage to Makkah. 
Religious programmes on the state radio were instituted. The 
visitation of mausolea (turbe) of sultans and saints was permitted 
again in 1950. And so on. 

On the unofficial side, some of the sophisticated began to find 
themselves invited to weddings that included a religious ceremony 
as well as the civil. It was reported that a certain increase in 
mosque-attendance, prayer-ritual observance, and fasting, was evi- 
dent; for instance, among college students — though such reports 
were difficult to check, and many Turks claimed that they noted 
no change, were aware of no religious ‘revival.’ As several put it. 


with a section turkey, pp. 41-148, with very important articles and bibliog- 
raphy.) 

Not that the process was so deliberate as this might suggest. The revolu- 
tionizing Turks were aiming not at preserving Islam, or some vital core of 
Islam, but at preserving themselves. They were ruthless in rejecting from 
their society whatever seemed to stand in the way of that society’s survival. 
In the face of this repudiation, only the vital part of their religion persisted; 
and only because it was vital. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

“There has never been any lapse in religion; hence there cannot 
now be a revival.” Others, however, explained, “The revolu- 
tionaries were in a hurry, and shattered much. We are now repair- 
ing and rebuilding.” 

This much, clearly, has been happening. The public expression 
o£ religion (as distinct from its inward hold on men), for long 
carefully circumscribed by law though never suppressed, has been 
allowed greater scope. The historical transmission of religion from 
one generation to another, through the instruction in forms and 
the training and setting aside of experts, a transmission inter- 
rupted at the revolution (and, with the gradual dying out of the 
old generation, in danger of being altogether broken) is being 
reinstituted. Finally, means have been being provided for work- 
ing out an expression of the new faith that amorphously or poten- 
tially the liberals are harbouring. This last provision is found in 
the general freedom for publication and discussion and the new 
public atmosphere, but chiefly and most significantly in the new 
university Faculty of Theology. 

Reasons for these developments are various. Our observation 
would suggest at least four. First, there is the wide philosophic 
trend away from secular positivism, a trend evident throughout 
Western culture since the First and more strikingly since the 
Second World War; the Turkish development is one instance of 
this.“^ Secondly, there has been the Turkish governments’ convic- 
tion that the new regime introduced by the revolution, and estab- 
lished since by a quarter-century of active reconstruction, is now 
so firmly entrenched that the danger of effective reaction, previ- 
ously led by the traditional religious authorities and fed by the 
traditional religious ideology, is over. Thirdly, the increase in 
political democracy has given a much greater voice in the control 
of policy to the peasants, who had throughout been much more 
traditionally Islamic than the previously dictatorial ruling class.^® 

To the present writer, it is interesting to compare the opening in 1949 
of a Faculty of Theology in the University of Ankara (over the relentlessly 
modern main portal of this university strikingly stands the bold quotation 
from Atatiirk, “The truest guide in life is science”) with the opening in 1948 
of a Faculty of Divinity in McGill University. One may note also the recent 
instituting of a chair of Religious Thought in Benjamin Franklin’s secular 
University of Pennsylvania, and similar developments in a number of institu- 
tions previously insistent on their scientific and secular orientation. 

28 This popular pressure first operated by inducing the governmental 

186 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

Fourthly, the dominating and vivid menace to Turkey of Soviet 
expansionism after the Second World War led the leaders to be- 
think themselves with a new seriousness of a moral and social force 
to strengthen the community against eKternal attack and internal 
disruption — an overt and organized Islam constituting, perhaps, 
just such a force. 

These conditioning factors are interrelated; and, together and 
singly, could interestingly be discussed and commented upon at 
length. Basically, however, they are important as developments 
in the history of Turkey, while our interest is rather in the recent 
phenomena viewed as new developments within the history of 
Islam, And here one must be on guard against a tendency to dis- 
count any phenomena that can apparently be ‘explained away’ : to 
regard a religious development for which extrinsic causes may be 
found as not really a religious development. The reactionary role 
of the Muslim clergy in Turkish society towards the end of the 
Ottoman regime, the intimate tie between official religion and the 
then decadent state, some have dismissed as “merely” the result of 
the Sultan Abdul Hamid’s political manoeuvring, his attempt to 
make use of public religion for his very worldly purposes. So to 
dismiss it is to overlook the fact that that attempt, though it may 
have been insincere, was also successful. Again, the Kemal govern- 
ment, on coming to power through the Revolution, when it sup- 
pressed the influence of those same religious authorities and 
seriously checked the overt expression of Islam that they mediated, 
did so largely or wholly for political reasons — they representing 
and leading the chief opposition to the new regime. So serious 
was their opposition that the government (quite apart from any 
religious feeling by which it might be held) had to choose either 
to suppress it forcibly or to jeopardize its own cause. What is more 
significant, every Turk who approved the revolution in principle 
had, if he were honest, to approve also that suppression; had to 
approve in his (Muslim) heart that stringent curbing of tradi- 


People’s Party to take "pro-Islamic" measures on its own initiative, lest the 
opposition gain sweeping votes by posing as champion of (traditional) reli- 
gion. The Democratic Party, by platform a firmer advocate of the so-called 
return to religion, was successful in the 1950 elections; and since then this 
matter has been one of the direct issues in Turkish political life, though 
careful steps have been taken to control its expression within limits set by 
other considerations. 




turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

tional Islam. To dismiss the development as “merely” expedient, 
a merely political measure, is therefore superficial (as superficial, 
indeed, in its own way as the exactly opposite view, which we have 
challenged, according to which the government abolished Islam). 
Governments, certainly, tend to take actions for political reasons. 
But this is not to gainsay that those actions may well have non- 
political and even deeply religious results or implications; may 
even be symptoms or evidences of deeply religious movements. 

To dismiss, therefore, the recent actions of the Turkish govern- 
ment again allowing greater expression to religion as “merely” a 
makeweight to communism or “merely” the vote-catching of dema- 
gogy, is to miss the potential significance of the move. Islam, which 
in the course of its historical evolution has latterly in Turkey 
undergone a vigorous reorientation of its external and social 
forms and a concomitant and in many cases profound reorienta- 
tion of its inner personal being in men’s lives and hearts, is now 
being given there the opportunity to re-express itself. In what 
forms it will do so, and whether with a new vitality, are matters 
that will, in the future, prove significant to watch. 

One possibility, of course, is that it will be re-expressed once 
more in the old forms — something between those of the decadence 
of the immediate past, when Ottoman corruption was dominant, 
and, ideally, the classical ‘pure’ forms of orthodox Islam. To some 
extent this is actually happening, and is welcomed with legitimate 
applause by the orthodox elsewhere. The call to prayer has again 
been made legal in Arabic. And so on. The trend, however, is 
evident chiefly in renewed religious activity of the masses: men 
whose participation in the Revolution and all its works was at 
best limited, so that all their life, and not only their religion, has 
been of the old school. For example, the new religious weeklies 
have apparently been popular both in the sense of having a quite 
considerable circulation and appeal and in the sense of avoiding 
all deep problems and serious issues. They are not addressed to 
either intellectuals or modernists. More extreme: a minor but 
inflammatory dynamist movement calling itself Ticani broke out 
in violent defiance of law in support of ancient fundamentalism. 

If such trends, in their widest ramifications, should become 
dominant, it would mean primarily that those classes within 
Turkey who have on the ivhole been passive in the social trans- 
formation, if not opposed to it, were using their democratic power 

i88 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

and religious freedom to re-establish another point of view. At its 
most extreme, if carried out not only in the ‘religious’ sphere 
(which cannot finally be isolated) but also in the social, political, 
and what not, this could mean that the Revolution, in the end, 
had failed. Some, whether inside or outside Turkey, would wel- 
come that reversion. 

We will not here pause to argue with them, nor to discuss the 
possibility of its happening, though manifestly we neither hope 
nor believe that the Turkish experiment will be overwhelmed. 
Our concern here, however, is with the form that the religion of 
the ruling class, the men of the Revolution, is likely to take. If 
these men choose orthodoxy, that will indeed be significant. If, as 
modern persons, living intellectually and practically in an indus- 
trial civilization; aware of science as a body of knowledge, a 
method of inquiry, and a technique for recasting their environ- 
ment; aware, too, realistically of modern war (and the threat of it 
from their massive Russian neighbour); conscious of their free 
responsibility in the present moment of human history — if such 
Muslims find, after two decades of wandering, that their religion 
can be expressed best, or expressed only, or can best or only be 
recovered or revitalized, through the traditional forms and insti- 
tutions; that will be profoundly instructive. 

It would also be of wide consequence, not only in Turkey but 
throughout the Muslim world. And while it would mean a re- 
pudiation of the Revolution in many of its aspects, it would be 
quite a difEerent matter from the failure adumbrated above. 
Whereas that envisaged the overpowering of the builders of the 
new society by the lower classes, and the rejection of their un- 
familiar handiwork by outsiders unconvinced, this possibility sees 
rather the revolutionaries themselves deciding from within that 
the new direction was wrong, and deliberately choosing to go back 
to earlier models. 

However, as we have seen, the dominant and emphatic con- 
viction of this class itself is that such will not be the case. For 
them, the old type of religion is gone, and ought to be gone; and 
they are consciously in search of a new. Many individuals are such 
that, if offered only the old, they would, whether with an insou- 
ciant disparaging or with a vast sorrowing reluctance, take none 
at all (like those liberals in the West whose religiousness is frus- 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

trated by a resurgence of [neo-] orthodoxy that keeps them from 
being Christians). 

Another possibility is that, in their quest for new forms, the 
Turks will fail. This would be indeed serious; meaning, as it 
would, that Islam in its first major experience of living in the 
fully modern world had been unable to find any interpretation 
for itself compatible with that modernity. For anyone, Muslim or 
alien, to predict such failure ahead of time would be rash as well 
as presumptuous. 

More optimistic is the belief that the present development will 
continue and the Turkish intelligentsia soon or gradually will 
elaborate a new diction in which to speak their faith and through 
which Islam, or should we say God, may speak to them. In favour 
of this possibility is the religious quality of the persons themselves 
and the tenor of their immediate society’s progress, as well as, 
perhaps, the world-wide search for religious reinterpretation in 
which they might participate, both profiting and contributing. 

Of any group that sets out to “reform” Islam, or indeed any 
religion, it may well be asked, as Professor Gibb reminds us,®® by 
what authority they propose to do so. Turkish modernism differs, 
perhaps, on this point from the Islamic modernism of all other 
countries, in that it has, whether explicit or no, an answer. The 
modernist Turk proceeds on the authority of the Revolution. This 
is the great dominating event of his society and his life, which he 
sees as having given a new birth to his nation, transforming it from 
decadence and disrepute into strength, honour, and — in an ulti- 
mate, though far from static, sense — ^virtue. What the Revolution 
has done and is doing to the Turkish community is to him funda- 
mentally and monumentally good. To say that it is, to him, 
religiously good is tautological yet relevant. 

To the Revolution and its ideal many modern Turks give their 
loyalty, and even, it might seem, their supreme loyalty. The dis- 
cussion amongst the intellectuals regarding the new religious 
freedom turned largely on the question of whether or not it 
endangered the Revolution. Those opposed were opposed on the 
grounds that it opened the door to social reaction, and might put 
in jeopardy the whole progress thus far achieved. Those in favour, 
as already indicated above, defended it on the grounds that the 

Modern Trends in Islam, Chicago, 1947, P- i°4- 


igo 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

new regime was sufficiently established that going back was no 
longer thinkable. Of all this, a critical Muslim could make a seri- 
ous charge. For, to judge and regulate a religion in terms of some 
accepted social progress (rather than vice-versa) goes, one could 
say, beyond secularism and impiety into sacrilege. 

A related indictment could be that the Turks give their loyalty 
to Turkey, or Turkishness, rather than to Islam. 

This is a matter of profound import. To make Islam subordi- 
nate to nationalism, religion to society, is dangerous in the 
extreme. Yet the matter is not simple. To give one’s final loyalty 
to anything but God is indeed — as Islam has long well taught — 
sin; and devastatingly such. It is disruptive not only of the per- 
sonality that succumbs to this distortion of its own true nature. 
It is disruptive also, within history, of any society that thus loses 
its vision of transcendent goals. Nonetheless there are two consid- 
erations that must be urged against too quick an interpretation 
of the Turkish venture as irreverent. 

First, there is the somewhat subtle but utterly crucial question, 
already adumbrated, as to whether the nationalist’s loyalty is to 
the Revolution, social progress, Turkishness, or what not, under 
God, or whether it is to these things absolutely. Are one’s values 
ultimately transcendent or empirical? To put the query more 
pragmatically: is there meaning in the question whether the 
Revolution, historical progress, Turkishness, etc., could go wrong? 

Men to whom the word ‘wrong’ in that question can convey 
significance, have, whether they know it or not, a transcendent 
reference for their loyalty — a reference with which they are, ulti- 
mately, saved; and without which they are ultimately lost. The 
Russian intellectual Radek, presumably, was sufficiently mistaken 
in supposing himself a dialectical materialist that actually he un- 
wittingly believed in and worked for not, finally, the revolution 
itself and its empirical results but the ideal of the revolution. He 
thought that the results of the revolution in actuality had deviated 
from the results as they ought to be. That is, though in a small and 
doubtless distorted way — as is varyingly true of all human beings — 
yet he apprehended something of the will of God. His loyalty to 
transcendence, however, brought him into conflict with empirical 
reality; and in his ruthlessly empirical, materialist, society, he 
paid for it with his life. 

Similarly with Turkey, one may ask whether the nationalist’s 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

allegiance to nationalism is ultimately to the new status quo, come 
what may, the Turkey that is, or to the Turkey that ought to be. 
And in the latter case, one may ask what the phrase means; what 
gives it meaning. 

It is important to realize, however, that a similar subtlety and 
crux are possible with regard to religion itself. It is the aim of the 
religions to elicit loyalty to what is transcendent. It is sometimes 
their nemesis to attract it only to themselves. In the particular 
case of Islam, we may see this in certain developments of mod- 
ernist thought in other Muslim countries. If, even unconsciously, 
one defines a Muslim as one whose supreme loyalty is to extant 
Islam, especially as an empirical community but even as an empiri- 
cal set of institutions and traditions, one is in the same danger of 
bowing down before something other than the transcendent God, 
and therefore of ending up with fascism. There are many Muslims 
throughout the world today who believe in Islam more than they 
believe in God. 

It is our conviction, already expressed, that the loyalty of the 
dominant group in Turkey, for all their nationalism, has not been 
so earth-bound. Nonetheless, it is important to bear in mind how 
easily and almost imperceptibly all our group loyalties can, and 
perhaps must, vacillate between divine ideals and the earthly 
symbols and processes that embody them. It is important also to 
recognize the lengths to which these men’s Turkishness has gone. 

This is evident also in our second consideration, according to 
which, we would contend, Turkish nationalism is not altogether 
un-Islamic — even though the religious novelty is such here that it 
raises perhaps as many questions as it solves. We refer to the point, 
touched upon already in an earlier chapter, that there has been 
here a substitution not of something else for a Muslim grouping 
but of a part for the whole. Turkish nationalism is itself to a 
certain degree inherently Muslim, in that it is concerned with a 
nation that is constituted of Muslims. It is the idealization of a 
Muslim (though not of the Muslim) group. This point is of con- 
siderable significance, including religious significance. We believe 
that it in fact has religious overtones even when those involved are 
unaware or insouciant of any Islamic implication. 

However, these overtones seem to some to become shrill when 
certain aspects of the religious implications are made explicit. This 
is most manifest in the aim being openly formulated by several. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

and said by some to be already in existence, o£ a Turkish Islam. 
As one Turk put it: “We want to construct a Turkish Islam, which 
will be ours, relevant to and integrated with our (new) society, 
just as Anglicanism is Christianity in a thoroughly English fashion. 
Anglicanism is not Italian, not Russian. Yet no one accuses it of 
not being Christian. Why should we not have an Islam of our 
own?” 

This is new in Islamic history, and to outside Muslims is shock- 
ing. Europeans, who know from sad experience the devastating 
potentialities of conflicting nationalisms, as well as Muslims who 
know from proud tradition the integrating potentialities of Islamic 
universalism, may be sorry to see the cosmopolitanism of classical 
Muslim civilization broken up. The Turks, however, are not sorry. 
Their separatism is deliberate, and its success is welcomed with 
enthusiasm. They view that breaking up as inevitable anyway and 
for themselves good. 

Moreover, they view the international society in which Turkey 
will and should participate as something other than, or larger 
than, the community of Islamic nations. (To this fundamental 
matter, we shall return.) Whether one agrees with their evaluation 
or no, it is important to recognize this Turkish view. Once again, 
what appears to others as a Turkish repudiation of Islam, or seces- 
sion from it, is in fact, for good or ill, a new development of very 
considerable importance within Islam. 

It is an internal development, which from certain points of view 
orthodox or alien Muslims might reasonably regard as more 
dangerous to Islam than repudiation or secession. For it must be 
recognized that the price being paid by Turkey for elaborating 
an Islamic interpretation of its own, is the negating, both in form 
and in substance, of the human community of Islam. If the one 
purest essence of Islam is submission to God, who is transcendent, 
certainly Islam as a visible religion has had in its history until 
now — as we have throughout stressed — a cardinal concern about 
the earthly society constituted by Muslims. The Turks, in pursuit 
of the former in today’s new world, find that it (and their Turkish- 
ness) has led them away from the latter. The feeling of other 
members of Muslim society that the modern Turks have re- 
nounced Islam is rooted, perhaps, most deeply in their sense of 
the Turks’ having renounced that wider society both in fact and 
in principle. The two points at which Turkish liberalism has most 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 


disruptively strained modern world Islam, are the Turkish Mus- 
lim’s attitude to other Muslims, and the Turkish Muslim’s atti- 
tude to the shari'ah. The Turks are, Islamically, isolationist. What 
is more, in rejecting the Law, they are rejecting the very notion 
of Islamic social integration. 

Both points demand consideration. 

On few subjects are modernist Turks so emphatic as in assever- 
ating that pan-Islam is dead. We may leave aside here the historical 
reasons underlying this. ("We do not want to be burdened with 
other people’s problems. We have bitter memories of that.’’) We 
may may leave aside as well present political implications. ("To 
stand — viz., against Russia — ^we need powerful friends, not weak 
ones.’’) So far as religion is concerned, on few Islamic matters are 
their emotions so quick as in disclaiming any religious involve- 
ment with the modern Arabs. Of Indonesians, Pakistanis, and 
other remoter Muslims they scarcely take time to be aware; with 
Iran they recognize certain ties, perhaps close but certainly not 
strong, cultural but not political, poetic rather than religious. To 
most of them, ‘other Muslims’ means, at once, Arabs. And to many 
of them Arabs are, if not repellent or contemptible, at least alien. 

Again, our concern is not with the historical background, per- 
spicuous enough ("We have had too much experience with the 
Arabs’’), nor with contemporary political relations (“We voted 
for the Arabs against Zionism, certainly. But we would not dream 
of sending troops’’). For our present purposes, what is significant 
is the deep gap that the modern Turks find, or dig, between 
themselves and the Arabs religiously. 

It is hardly an exaggeration to say that some Turks consider 
Arab Muslims much as an American Protestant might look on an 
Ethiopian Orthodox Christian: politically irrelevant and reli- 
giously benighted. Any suggestion that the new Faculty of Theol- 
ogy at Ankara would be ‘another Azhar’ is either laughable or 
shocking. (“A shambles. We would certainly never allow such a 
thing to be repeated here” — “We intend to make it something 
that will compare, rather, with Union Theological Seminary.”) 
In fact, one of the impulses behind the desire for a religious re- 
form in Turkey is the felt need for an overt differentiation of 
Turkish Islam from Arab. 

The depth of Turkish isolationist feeling is an important fact 
in the modern Islamic world. 


194 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

I£ taxed with this introversion, Turkish defence would be 
spirited. For one thing, Turks are well aware that their own 
refusal to continue their role of active championship of the Islamic 
world is matched by an equal reluctance on the part of other 
Muslims today to acknowledge Turkish hegemony. (After all, 
they abolished the Khilafah only after the Arab Revolt.) Secondly, 
with their sociological bent, they emphasize that Turkish society 
is radically both separate from and different from the societies of 
other Muslims today and a difference in religion is involved. 
Thirdly, their whole venture in self-renewal, embodied in the 
Revolution (with its renunciation of empire) and still prosecuted 
with high mettle, is essentially a seZ/-renewal. For the Turks to 
reform other people’s Islam would seem to them as gratuitous as it 
would seem to them recreant not to reform their own.®^ 

On the question of the Law, there is involved not only a seces- 
sion from even lip-service to the notion of pan-Muslim social 
solidarity. The issue raises internal questions also, of serious im- 
port. 

Islamic society, community consciousness, and social conscience 
are not merely an historical phenomenon, which Turkey, in the 
process of creating new history, is choosing to alter. They are also 
the ideal, as they are largely the result, of the shari'ah Law, which 
too Turkey has rejected.®^ Turkish modernists seem to have given 
little thought to the theological and moral aspects of its rejection 
as an ideal. They have contented themselves with a positive judge- 
ment, both theological and moral, in favour of its rejection as a 
practice. This is, in part, indicative of the telling failure — by no 

3 ° Yet they feel themselves, quite simply, the most advanced and most 
powerful Muslim nation. "For many a long year we have been cogitating why 
the Orient is backward, Europe advanced. We observe that we are the most 
advanced of the Muslims. . . 

Cf. Gibb, op. cit., pp. 103-04, where, questioning Iqbal’s claim for Muslim 
liberals to reinterpret Islam, he asks, with the religious leaders, on what au- 
thority a small, self-constituted minority proposes to “remodel the social in- 
stitutions of one-seventh of the human race.” The Turks are remodelling 
those institutions, they would point out, only for themselves. 

22 The discussion, primarily, is of the shari'ah only as a governmental code. 
It is sometimes said, also by the Turks themselves, that the Republic's action 
has affected only tliose aspects of the shari'ah, the mu'dmalat, that deal with 
civil or social affairs, or relations between men. Those dealing with personal 
affairs, the relation of each man to God, 'ibddat, are untouched by state 
action; Turks are free to accept these or not, as each sees fit. The accuracy of 
such an analysis is only approximate. 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

means confined to Turkey — of its exponents to make the ideal 
compelling or even intelligible or even obvious in the modern 
Muslim world. 

Striking, certainly, in Turkey is the earnest conviction, the 
almost grim determination, that the recent freedom for religious 
expression shall not and will not lead to a return to the Law. The 
remarkably wide agreement on this point includes the devout 
as well as the sophisticated. Many on being questioned seem never 
to have conceived the possibility; and react to an enquiry with 
dismay, followed by rejection. If the new Islam in Turkey, how- 
ever resurgent, were to include a revived sharVah officially imposed, 
it would mean either that an entirely different group had gained 
the ascendant or that those presently dominant had been meta- 
morphosed. 

Indeed, one view of the recent enlarging of scope for religious 
thought is this: the new “laicism” — a sort of controlled separation 
of church and state — having now been worked out (and imposed) 
satisfactorily from the standpoint of the state, it is time for it to be 
worked out from that of the church. Turkish society, this argu- 
ment runs, has adopted, approved, and become accustomed to, the 
new role for religion in modern life; but Turkish religion has not 
yet formally done so. 

The old officiating representatives of Islam administered an 
Islam that sought control of politics, law, and social custom. The 
Republican government, suppressing that group, took matters into 
its own hands and itself determined what religion’s role should be. 
Now it would seek to train a new class of officiant who will ad- 
minister the new Islam within the bounds set for it. The step 
indicates, inter alia, the confidence of the modernizers that Turk- 
ish Islam has in fact, among the educated classes, been so changed 
that, given freedom of expression, it will express itself in this sense. 
(The freedom is, of course, far from absolute. The state continues 
its control, if not its guidance.) 

Yet a problem remains. The crucial matter is, perhaps, that the 
Turks, in rejecting the shari'ah, think of themselves as having 
discarded only the equivalent of what in Western civilization 
might be thought of as ecclesiastical positive law. They do not 
think of having abandoned the equivalent of what is embodied 
in Western tradition as the concept of natural law. If there is no 
transcendent justice in the universe to which a man’s conscience 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

can appeal, against the empirical actions and even the laws of a 
society, that man and that society are precarious in the extreme. 
Whether Turkey can generate an effective substitute, in this realm, 
for the divine Laws of Islam — for Turks grown, in this realm also, 
ineffective — is not yet clear. 

The actual regulations of the shari’ah the Turks have replaced, 
in civil matters, with those of the Swiss code. They are at no loss 
to argue that the change has proven itself good. But with what, if 
anything, have they replaced the principles on which the shari’ah 
is based? This is a question to which they have given little thought, 
let alone much answer. We refer not to the immediate principles, 
of deduction, the overt sources, etc.; for these they have explicitly 
substituted induction, the needs of society, and the like. Our refer- 
ence is to the ultimate principles, of man’s rights and duties as 
related to the very structure of the universe. 

If today the members of the Grand National Assembly have 
replaced the shari’ah with a foreign code, because it seemed to 
them good, what is to keep them tomorrow from replacing this by 
fascist laws, if it seem to them, as a ruling group, profitable? Again, 
if the individual is not bound, by any eternal or internal principle, 
to obey or honour the laws of the shari’ah, by what is he bound, 
except an efficient police, to obey or honour the laws of the state? 

We have suggested that, for individual Turks, their informal 
religiousness and their nationalism are serving this purpose for the 
moment. Their own recent measures indicate their feeling that, 
for the long run and for new generations, something more con- 
crete is needed, some crystallization of their numinousness. The 
sociological problem is whether a society, even when consisting of 
members individually Muslim, their religion a personal moral 
affection, can be held together and made good by nationalism; 
or whether a principle of integration more transcendent, divine, 
in this case Islamic, is (also?) needed. 

The theological problem is twofold. One aspect is the counter- 
part of the above: whether man’s relation to man, an integral 
part of any true religion, can be left religiously unformulated. 
The other is a question with more timeless implications, poten- 
tially emergent in all religions and in Islamic history raised par- 
ticularly by tasawiouf, the faith of the mystics. It is that of 
whether man’s relation to God can subsist without the mediation 
of a tangible sacredness. We have earlier suggested that, as the 


197 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

mediator between God and man has been in Christianity Christ, 
so in Islam it has been the sharVah. As liberal Christianity,' in 
completely humanizing Jesus, has run, it is said, the risk at last 
of losing touch with God, so it may be asked whether Muslim 
liberals, by enacting an avowedly man-made code of laws, may be 
courting a similar estrangement. 

To press this point, however, is valueless for those for whom 
the erstwhile embodiment of the divine has, for good or ill, 
already ceased to mediate eternity. The Law has served as a care- 
fully constructed and beautifully structured bridge between this 
world and the next; many generations of Muslims have with sure- 
ness found their way across it. But today, when the stream of life is 
ever quickening its tempo, that bridge, in the eyes of many Turks, 
has proven to be a pontoon, and under the impact of the new 
torrential swiftness is seen to be breaking from its moorings — on 
both sides. The bridge is receding from them; not only has it been 
wrenched loose from the solid ground of everyday things that 
make up mundane life on this shore, but also it no longer seems 
in contact with the divine on the other side. 

On tasawwuf — which, one might say, has through the Islamic 
centuries for the individual Muslim paralleled or dispensed with 
the community’s legal bridge — Turkish oi^inion is unclarified. An 
occasional intellectual dismisses it as “contemplation, quietism, 
withdrawal from life — it has nothing to do with us, with the 
modern world. Sufism was imported from India, anyway; and is 
ridiculous. It is dead in Turkey. And it ought to be dead.” This 
type seems, however, rare, remarkably so in contrast with the Arab 
world. The Sufi tradition has been strong and conspicuous in 
Turkish history; today in an inconspicuous way it seems still reli- 
giously strong or at least active. The Turks have vigorously 
shattered the social institutions that it developed. The historians 
recognize the major role played in the past by the orders in 
Turkey’s culture; the alert modernists recognize the similarity 
of aim between the true Sufi and themselves; the most sophisti- 
cated respond to a recitation of the mawlud.^^ Almost all, however, 

85 Siileyman Clielebi, The Mevlidi Sherif, translated by F. Lyman Mac- 
Callum, London, "Wisdom of the East Series, 1943. The translation’s in- 
troduction is of interest; it was written well before the present “revival," as 
well as before the present writer came into touch with Turkish sophisticated 
society to observe for himself something of the place of this poem in its 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

agree in denouncing the tekke’s (mystic orders) roundly; as at the 
least degenerate, as well as politically reactionary.®* The question 
of reopening them has not been raised. Certainly many are, almost 
grimly, against it. 

Yet the modernists argue, cogently, that tasawwuf, surely, is in 
principle religion without organization, without forms: in this 
case, if anywhere, surely in sloughing off the formalism nothing 
essential is lost, and very much gained. And it is precisely a ra- 
tionale of inner, personal religion that the Turkish intelligentsia 
is seeking. They have already had, in Ziya Gokalp and in the 
government actions, an emphasis on religion as a social phenom- 
enon; this emphasis has been influential in their thinking, and 
to some extent is supported by the general sunni tendency to 
stress the group. For all the resurgence of activity in modern 
Turkish Islam, there would perhaps be little prospect of a truly 
religious vitality were this emphasis not supplemented by the 
significant degree to which the orientation of individual Turks 
is Sufi. Moreover, the Sufi concern for human brotherhood be- 
yond the bounds of the closed religious group is important to the 
Turks, who, for political, economic, ideological, and other reasons 
are endeavouring, while preserving their Turkish culture and 
their Muslim religion, to become members of Western or world 
civilization rather than of an Islamic bloc. 

As one Turk expressed himself on this whole subject: “Cer- 
tainly the tekke's were finished; and should be gone for ever. But 
tasavvuf is essential, is what we need. At heart, it is imperative 
[this said with conviction, sadness, sincerity and an almost poetic 
earnestness] that we find that inner nature of religion, unencum- 
bered by the formal accoutrements of a bygone day, and the divi- 
sive particularities of the diverse creeds. Man needs this, or all is 
lost. This is the moral, spiritual crisis of mankind today; and if 


aSection; one may note MacCallum’s remarks on p. 15, on the continued 
use of the poem in Republican Turkey. The present writer was most inter- 
ested to find one or two Turks surprised and even incredulous at his referring 
to this work as §ufl, so totally has it been accepted into standard Turkish 
Islam. 

2* The immediate occasion for dissolving the orders and closing the tekkes 
and zaviyes was tlie Kurdish Revolt of 1925, the most formidable internal 
threat with which the Republic was faced; it was led by the dervi§ $eyh Said, 
"hereditary Abbot of the Nakhshbendi Order” (Toynbee and Kirkwood, 
op. cit., p. 265). 


ipp 


turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

we do not solve it, we are finished. And mysticism can never be a 
science. Science can aid it; in fact the new mysticism must use 
science; the new Faculty must make use of scientific methods and 
science’s results. But the thing that we are looking for is beyond 
and above science. And it will bring in all mankind.” The remarks 
were capped with an appropriate Persian couplet, traditional, 
vital, Sufi. 

Professor Gibb has touched on the tie between Sufism and 
romanticism;®® and indicated the incidence also in the modern 
Muslim world of that between romanticism and nationalism. It 
would be vain to deny a prominent strain of romanticism in the 
Turks’ national movement — as, for instance, Cahun and the ‘Sun 
Language Theory’ illustrate.®® It would be idle also to deny the 
explosive dangers of unchecked romanticism, on which he insists. 

Nonetheless, the Turks are far and away the most realistic and 
self-critical group in present-day Islam. For one thing, despite the 
relation on which we have insisted between their Turkish na- 
tionalism and their Muslimness, yet there is a certain immediate 
conflict between the two romanticisms, so that each tends to check 
the other. Secondly, as Gibb himself indicates,®^ while romanticism 
may be checked by rationalism (which in the Islamic case has in 
the past been represented by the orthodox ‘ulama’), it may be 
checked also by science and the historical method; and with these, 
particularly the former, the Turks have become more intimate, 
in their modernity, than any other Muslim people. Chiefly, how- 
ever, their romanticism is disciplined by a tellingly honest viewing 
of their world as it is. Their imagination, though vivid, is checked 
by the facts of their social progress. Not only are they dreaming 
of an ideal Turkey; also they are busy bringing it into being. 
(Contrast those Arabs who are dreaming of an ideal Arab world of 
a thousand years and more ago.) 

®® Op. cit., pp. 11 off. Cf. that whole chapter for the discussion that here 
follows, 

®®See L^on Cahun, Introduction d I'histoire de I’Asie: Turcs et Mongols 
des origines a 140^, Paris, 1896. A Turkish translation appeared in 1899. For 
passing remarks regarding the significant influence of this work on historiog- 
raphy in Turkey for a time, and reg;arding the Sun Theory (Gunej-Dil 
Teorisi), see Bernard Lewis, op. cit. (at ref. 10 above), esp. p. 221-22; Uriel 
Heyd, “Language Reform in Modern Turkey," Middle Eastern Affairs, New 
York, 4: 402-08 (1953): and the latter’s book by the same title, Jerusalem, 
1954, esp. pp. 33-36. 

‘r Op. cit., p. 108. 


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turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

The zest with which the Turks are pursuing the national aim 
that they have set, and the success that they are achieving, are 
indications o£ their realism and sincerity. The whole tone of their 
conversations on religious subjects, quite unique in the modern 
Muslim world, is another. If life consists in a balance between 
dreams and prosaic reality, creative freedom and discipline, the 
modern Turks can claim a sizable measure of success. 

The significance of the Turkish development can be well 
grasped in the terms of Professor Gibb’s own analysis. For that 
development differs most strikingly from that of the rest of the 
modern Muslim world precisely in those points that he charac- 
terizes as the other Muslim modernists’ chief weakness. He 
speaks of “the intellectual confusions and the paralyzing roman- 
ticism which cloud the minds of the modernists of today.’’®® He 
deplores those modernists’ elaboration of ideal solutions to their 
social problems, out of relation to the actual societies in which 
they live; and writes that when those societies in fact change “by 
the forces of internal evolution, they will find their own appro- 
priate solutions. These solutions will not necessarily coincide with 
our Western solutions but will be based on the proved experience 
and needs of the Muslim people.’’®® These observations point to 
the relative strength of Turkey’s reinterpretation. The modernist 
Islam that is being gestated by the Turks has been fathered not, 
like the Arabs’, by paralysing romanticism but by the actual social 
changes within their country. 

As one educational official put it: “Islam among the Arabs, in 
India, etc., is in sharp contrast with ours in Turkey. And obviously 
so. For they have not had their social revolution. Amanullah did 
not have the social basis for his reforms; therefore he failed. 
Similarly in Iran; the sociological substructure had not developed 
far enough to accept the changes. That is why you are hearing now 
of the veil coming back in Tehran. Take this question of the veil. 
It is not possible that we shall go back to it. Everything depends 
on economic life; and in Turkey women are working, in banks, 
as teachers, professors, judges, chemists, lawyers. There are more 
than twenty women lawyers practising here in Ankara right now. 
And this applies to the provinces as well. The process has gone 
much too far for the old ideas to come back. Much has changed; 

p. 105, repeated p. 106 (cf. above, chap. 3, ref. 179). 

Ibid., p. 105. 


201 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

as democracy advances, there will be more change still. The reli- 
gion is developing; we earnestly hope that it will continue to 
develop. But we have no need of a reformer: the life of society 
will take care of its reformation” 

To this question of a reformer we shall presently return. In the 
meantime we may note that this sociological basis for the new 
religion is found in the realms not only of social life but also, in- 
cipiently, of religious. There are a few signs of a new economic- 
social pattern emerging in explicitly Islamic life in Turkey. In 
the past, the religious institutions have been sustained economi- 
cally chiefly by the state and by Waqf endowments. In Turkey at 
present in a few instances money is being collected for the repair 
or even construction of mosques by public subscription, neigh- 
bourhood or otherwise; and the office of a religious functionary is 
being brought potentially closer to the status of a modern profes- 
sion by such practices as the paying of unprecedented sums for 
his services at weddings, funerals, mawluds, and the like, within 
the modernized classes. These are but precarious and minor first 
steps in a matter that is, in fact, of crucial importance, if a modern 
religion is to become not only an idea but a living force in Turkey. 
It is too early yet to say whether they may develop into something 
comparable to a ‘congregation,’ economically self-sustaining. If 
they do so develop or if otherwise a situation emerges wherein a 
university graduate in theology has some prospect of becoming 
an imam in a mosque with a financial and socio-cultural position 
comparable to that of his fellows who are doctors, lawyers, pro- 
fessors, and the like, the significance will clearly be great. 

The state itself is moving in this direction.^® Whether its control 
will offset its economic support has yet to be seen. 

This, combined with the intellectual rethinking, would make 
not fanciful the inspiring vision of the Turkish leader who fore- 
saw the Istanbul mosques of Siileymaniye and Sultan Ahmet — 
surely houses of worship magnificent and sublime — “filled with 
modern and educated worshipers, and with first-class preachers 
trained in our new Faculty and with subsequent further degrees 
from Oxford; honoured, modern, intelligent, serious.” 

Even those Turks who so dream are well aware that the task 

It now receives into state employment the graduates o£ the new religious 
training schools and Faculty on the same principle of salary scale (the barem) 
as those trained in other fields. 


202 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

before them is far from easy and is far from completed. Most, 
indeed, affirm that it has not yet been begun. “There must be a 
reform of Islam. But at present there is no indication of such a 
reform: I see no one on the horizon capable of doing it, or essaying 
to do it. It may take years. Yes, I myself have thought much on 
these matters; but I have no pretensions whatever as a religious 
reformer. I am an ordinary simple man. All that we can do, and 
this we are doing, is to lay the foundations, to set up the circum- 
stances in which a reform would be possible.” So genuine is the 
search for a new statement of faith, and so successful the adjust- 
ment to the disestablished, unclerical, personal-moral Islam of the 
post-Revolution years, that the Turkish intelligentsia is less con- 
scious of the degree of reform already accomplished than is an 
outside observer. 

One final observation on Turkish modernism, before we move 
on. This concerns its relation with the West. That relation has 
two aspects, internal and external, each of which is of major im- 
portance. Those who had been afraid that Turkey was drifting 
into a spurious Westernism, away from its own authentic spirit, 
have doubtless been relieved to see the resurgence of an overt 
Islam. On the other hand, the Turks might still be accused of now 
aping the West even in religion, in seeking to reproduce in Islam 
a Reformation that Christendom effected in earlier times and 
different circumstances. Certainly it is startling to hear the name 
of Luther on many Turkish lips that could scarcely discourse on 
the work of al-Ash‘ari or al-Ghazzali or Iqbal. 

However, the answer here, we should suggest, is twofold. First, 
the modernizing Turks are Westernizers not in a superficial imi- 
tative sense but with deep deliberation — in contrast, for instance, 
to those Cairo Muslims who, while they shout down Western 
books, are avid of Western tinsel. Secondly, the Turks are con- 
sciously and seriously facing in religion a specific and difficult 
problem: which is, how to relate their inherited religion to the 
quite new life and society that make up the modern world. They 
know that they are the first Muslims to be fully confronted with 
this particular problem (and therefore do not expect guidance on 
how to solve it from a study of past Islamic history). They know 
also that a comparable problem has been met already in the West, 
and therefore bethink themselves of studying how Christians have 
dealt with it. They are looking to the West not for religious inspi- 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

ration, which for them remains Islamic; but for, as it were, tech- 
niques in the religious field. The assumption would be that such 
techniques involve questions not of being Christian or Islamic, 
but of being modern rather than mediaeval. 

The larger aspects of the Westernism of Turkey’s new Islam 
raise issues of more than Turkish, and even more than Muslim, 
import. We have essayed to consider the Turkish movement as a 
development in the history of Islam. Another way of looking at it, 
both legitimate and important, is in terms of the history of civili- 
zations. The question, essentially, is this: can a non-Christian 
nation be a member of Western civilization. 

The question has profundities. In them the Turks find them- 
selves involved. The question has world-wide implications, but 
only in Turkey is it being seriously thought out.*^ We have already 
remarked on the choice of the Turks not to belong to a community 
of Muslim nations. It is their will to participate in the Western 
community. As Ziya Gokalp put it, French and Germans have 
separate cultures, but both constitute Western civilization; so 
would Turks, while stressing and vitalizing their Turkish na- 
tionalism.^® And if for a time in seeking membership they seemed 
to keep quiet about their religion, or even in some Western eyes 
to relinquish it, now they are quite explicitly Muslim though 
admittedly searching for what that means in the new context. If 
it is a question whether Islam can adjust itself to Western civiliza- 
tion, it is also a question whether Western civilization is able to 
develop so as to include Islam. 

Flow the process will evolve we do not venture to predict. Our 
only insistence is, once more, that the process is significant. Com- 
ing back to our major standpoint, the development from the 
point of view of the Turks themselves as Muslims, we find them, 

Japan deliberately adopted Western methods for its own purposes; but 
never wished to become a member of a Western community — or, if it did, 
was shamefully insulted and rejected by that community, largely on the 
grounds of colour. The Jews, apart from being a nation only in an unusual 
sense, and despite their immense contribution to that civilization, have been 
accepted as members of Western civilization in a sense the contemplation 
of which gives one pause, and a Westerner shame. 

See the forthcoming ed. of Gokalp’s writings (cf. above, chap, a, ref. go). 
Cf. also, Uriel Heyd, The Foundations of Turkish Nationalism, London, 
1950, p. 65 and passim; Niyazi Berkes, "Ziya Gokalp: His Contribution to 
Turkish Nationalism,” The Middle East Journal, Washington, 8:375-90 
(1954), esp. pp. gSyfE. 



turkey: ISLAMIC REFORMATION? 

in other fields competent and effective, in this field serious and 
sincere. 

One thing seems sure. If a Luther — to borrow their own meta- 
phor — were to appear, he would get a ready hearing amongst the 
educated classes of Turkey. Emotionally and intellectually, socio- 
logically and religiously, they seem ready to follow new ventures 
of Islamic development. However, whether such a reformer will 
indeed appear is another matter. Can one generate a Reformation 
by fiat? — even when providing the milieu? 

The Turks seem creative enough to understand and to accept, 
creative enough to implement and to develop, a new religious 
vision. Whether they are creative enough to produce one is the 
crucial question. 


205 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

Into the business of rehabilitating Islamic history in our day, 
Pakistanis, of all the world’s Muslim communities, have plunged 
most self-consciously and clamorously. This, rather than any par- 
ticular success they may have yet had in executing the enterprise, 
gives their case significance. Here is a group that has expressly 
set out to live together as Muslims. They have sought, and won, 
political independence: they have as a nation the formal power, 
and therefore the responsibility, of fashioning their community 
life in the modern world. Here, it was said, will unfold before 
our eyes the earthly outworking in our day of the religious com- 
munity, the twentieth-century actualization of Islam as a social 
ideal. Here if anywhere in the modern world, it might be argued, 
is a clear opportunity to see what Islam now means in operation. 
Here explicitly is Islamic history once again in full swing. 

In less than a decade of existence Pakistan has already gone 
through various phases of mood and interpretation regarding the 
place of Islam in the life of the nation. None of the phases has 
been decisive, or even clear. For a time there was exuberantly an 
emphasis on the close tie between religion and social life. Many 
were enthusiastic that the purpose of Pakistan was to realize a 
truly Islamic community. The nation, for them, existed so that 
the religion could be taken seriously, and applied to modern life. 
This accompanied the almost standard view on which we have 
already touched, that Islam and its society had gone through a 
period of oppression and, as it were, eclipse; the attainment of 
Pakistan signified the emergence from that period and the em- 
barking on a great and glorious enterprise, the society’s reimple- 
mentation of Islam in our day. 

More recently, a mood of disillusionment has widely super- 
vened. To “apply Islam’’ to the concrete affairs of national life 
quickly proved vastly more difficult than many had foreseen. And 
some applications of it that were tried, by devotees more zealous 
than wise, proved ugly. The Lahore riots of 1953, in which bru- 
tality and chaos were proffered in the name of religion, gave 
pause.i Less spectacular but almost as telling, in East Pakistan 

iSee below, pp. 330-31. 


206 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


the Muslim League, which talked of Islam, seemed to proffer 
nothing at all; the party was rejected at the polls.® All in all, many 
began to feel that the concept of an ‘Islamic state’ was none too 
helpful; and turned their thoughts to other things. 

It is our contention, however, that the matter remains im- 
portant — and indeed crucial. The happenings of recent years have 
made the issue more, not less, compelling. The failure of an 
Islamic state would be easier than its success, but no less important. 
A nation cannot readily escape from religion; and it cannot escape 
at all from history, from mundane development. Once a people is 
free, it is also responsible. For good or ill, it is responsible even in 
face of questions so formidable as that of relating its history and 
its faith. And on the success and manner of this Muslim people’s 
executing the enterprise of living together as Muslims in the 
modern world, turns to a significant degree the future not only of 
their nation but also of Islam. If Islamic history is significant at 
all, then the history that Pakistanis are now creating is of serious 
moment, both temporal and religious. 

Even if on second thought they may feel that the undertaking 
to build an Islamic society was more onerous than they once 
imagined, yet in a sense there is now no going back. Indeed, so 
far-reaching was the commitment, so overt and explicit the en- 
deavour, that the significance and responsibility have grown 
inescapable. The history on which they have embarked will, de- 
liberately or not, be Islamic. Whether they like or regret it, the 
engagement is large, and has been undertaken — it cannot now be 
discarded or shelved. For a decision to drop the ‘Islamic state’ 
idea at this stage would be no mere diversion. Rather, it would 
be a religious act, a deep conclusion. For it would involve the 
positive assertion by a great Muslim community that the Islamic 
ideal for society is irrelevant or unequal to the task of contempo- 
rary living; or at least that they as a people are unable so to inter- 
pret or implement it. Even without a forthright decision, merely 
a drift away from this ideal or from concern about it would in fact 

2 The provincial assembly elections, March, 1954. Cf. Stanley Maron, “The 
Problem o£ East Pakistan,” Pacific Affairs, 28:132-44 (1955); Richard L. Park, 
“East Bengal: Pakistan’s Troubled Province,” Far Eastern Survey, 23: 70-74 
(1954). Cf. also, for the ensuing period, Richard L. Park and Richard S. 
Wheeler, “East Bengal under Governor’s Rule,” ibid., 23:129-34 (1954). 

207 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

involve a reassessment of, and challenge to, and comment on, their 
faith. 

To abandon all pretence to an Islamic social ideal would be of 
mundane as well as religious consequence. Not only would it 
demand, on pain of hypocrisy, a reinterpretation of religion. It 
would demand also some new interpretation of mundane affairs. 
For no society can survive that does not have some ideal, some 
faith, some motivation. If the Islamic were spurned, or even 
allowed to slide, one might reasonably expect either that this 
would be accompanied by the far-reaching adoption of some other 
conviction, or else that it would lead to disillusionment and cyni- 
cism, and these to disintegration and chaos. 

Whether Pakistan could indeed effect any practical constructive 
programme on the basis of Islam was a serious and exacting ques- 
tion — more penetrating than most of the religionists recognized. 
Whether it can hold together and effect any practical constructive 
programme at all without Islam as a basis is an equally serious 
and exacting question — more penetrating than most of the secu- 
larists have recognized. Liberal secularism is itself a faith, a posi- 
tive conviction. It has its own foundations, moral and intellectual; 
its own martyrs and heroes and ideals; its own history; and its own 
institutions. Some expect it to appear of itself so soon as religious 
faith is circumscribed or dropped. This is glib. The history of 
Pakistan to date, as we shall presently consider, all too starkly 
illustrates the falsity of so facile an assumption. Pakistan may 
choose a liberal secular future for itself; but if it does it will be 
taking on, as it did with its Islamic aspiration, a mighty endeavour. 
This too will require a high level of devoted creativity. 

In sum, we are persuaded that one must in the Pakistan case 
take very seriously the ‘Islamic state’ idea — whether in order to 
comprehend what has been and may yet be involved if the nation 
aims at ‘being Islamic’; or to appreciate the religious implications 
if it rejects the ideal in favour of some other; or to understand 
what the failure to be Islamic may signify in practice. 

Pakistan may succeed in becoming an Islamic state. Or it may 
transfer its loyalty from an Islamic to some new ideal. Or it may fail. 
Each of the alternatives is momentous; and the choice between 
them is searching and inexorable. 


208 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


The Establishment of an Islamic State 

The conception o£ an ‘Islamic state’ ideal, a conceptual model 
to serve as a possible objective for the nation’s striving, will receive 
our attention later on. We first wish to stress that there is a sense 
in which Pakistan is an Islamic state already; in addition to an- 
other sense in which it is not yet an Islamic state but may, and 
should, become one. Apart from any question of its form, and how- 
ever un-ideal its actuality, it has in a certain sense been Islamic 
from its inception. Its being so is one of the monumental develop- 
ments of contemporary Islamic history. For Indie Islam the funda- 
mental religious fact is the sheer existence of Pakistan. 

This religious significance will be readily understood if there 
is general validity in the argument put forward in our opening 
chapter above. We suggested there that Islam is a religion whose 
major this-worldly expression is its self-implementation in a social 
order. An independent political community as the arena of reli- 
gious activity is part of the very genius of Islam. The existence of 
such a community is not something peripheral; it lies close to 
the heart of the faith. 

For some centuries this aspect of the religion’s message has had, 
we may remember, no effective outward expression for most 
Muslims. Not finding its reality in history, it had not lapsed but 
been driven inward to live as part of the Muslim’s dream. 

It lay ready to burst forth whenever an appropriate opportunity 
or occasion should present itself. In the Indian case we have seen 
that the impulses stemming from the Waliyullah movement served 
to rearouse it. The so-called “Wahhabi” uprisings and their affili- 
ates in the early nineteenth century, and to a certain extent the 
Mutiny (1857), were in part overt expressions of this dynamic. 
So in its own fashion was the Khilafat movement of the early 
twentieth.® 

Similarly the response was exuberant when, in 1940, partly for 
their own purposes, a political party of middle-class Indo-Muslims 
proposed the Pakistan idea. For some decades leadership in the 
society had lain with those whose orientation was largely not tradi- 
tionally Islamic but Westernizing and novel. It was the lower 
classes and other non-Westernizers who most vividly preserved 
and warmly cherished the inherited ideals. The modernizing bour- 

8 See above, chap, s, ref. i8. 


20p 



PAKISTAN; ISLAMIC STATE 

geoisie had to some extent lost touch with the tradition; or they 
harboured its dreams only vaguely, feeling somewhat their im- 
petus but unable to formulate it. Their own dreams were largely 
of their immediate interests and ambitions. At the very least, they 
had added to their inherited ideals much new-fashioned baggage 
recently acquired. They were hardly in a position to give precise 
leadership to the popular religious urge. Yet the enthusiasm 
elicited was widespread and powerful, almost frenzied, when the 
leadership that they did proffer aimed at something^ that the 
rest of the community generally could and did interpret as a pro- 
gramme to realize the splendid, long-standing vision of Islam. 

The overwhelming, almost unanimous support eagerly offered 
to the Pakistan conception, the swiftness with which the idea suc- 
ceeded in becoming actualized, the intensity of the emotions in- 
volved, apparently surprised even the political leaders themselves. 
They seemingly hardly realized on how profound an Islamic urge 
they were almost unwittingly touching. The longing for an Islamic 
state on earth blazed into rapid flame. 

We do not mean to suggest that nothing else was involved in 
the partitioning of India. Islam’s inherent drive towards a religio- 
political community was not the only factor at work in the hectic, 
complex days of the 1940’s. The coming into existence of the new 
dominion was conditioned by the multitude of mundane matters, 
concrete and human, obtaining at this particular juncture of time 
and place. Political, economic, sociological, psychological and 
other factors in the separatist movement and its environment were 
operative and important.' Such matters obviously affect, and in 

* On March 23, 1940, the Muslim League political party adopted the 
Lahore Resolution, which gave political form to the idea of a separate state 
for the Indian Muslims; but abstrusely. The resolution did not mention 
Islam, or the term Pakistan. It was the following, more than the leadership, 
that emphasized the Islamic aspects of the programme. 

5 These factors were studied by the present writer: up to 1942, in Modern 
Islam in India: a social analysis, Lahore, 1943; the following three years in 
a pamphlet. The Muslim League 7^42-45, Lahore, 1945: these two were more 
or less amalgamated in a revised edition of the earlier book, London, "1946” 
(sc. 1947). This youthful work has many defects; among them, those of which 
the writer is most conscious — chiefly the inadequate understanding of Is lam 
and also of the crucial role played in history by ideological and moral factors 
— are corrected so far as possible in the present study. The account of the 
sociological factors at work in the development, though one-sided, is perhaps 
not invalid so far as it went, and may still be significant. But those factors, 
although valid, did not of themselves add up to explain adequately what 


210 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

some senses of the word determine, the course of human history; 
including Islamic history. The impetus from the past, the on- 
going striving towards a dream, is influenced, moulded, by them. 
Yet it is not obliterated.® 

Without the dynamic context of specific circumstance of later 
British rule, the move towards Pakistan would not have developed 

happened subsequently: neither the full cataclysm of 1947, nor the mood 
of vibrant stamina and creativity of Pakistan in the initial years of its exist- 
ence, nor the subsequent disillusionment. The writer, it is now clear, had 
failed adequately to comprehend the integration of these mundane factors 
into significantly Islamic history. One of the advantages of studying con- 
temporary rather than ancient history is that one may fairly quickly learn 
where one is wrong. 

It is perhaps legitimate to point out tliat the work entitled Modern Islam 
in India (title-page; on the jacket. Modern Islam in India and Pakistan), 
Ripon Press, Lahore [1954], bearing the present writer’s name as author, is a 
pirated edition made witliout his knowledge or consent, and includes a chapter 
"Towards Pakistan” that is by another hand and is entirely spurious. There 
are a few other interpolations also. 

For other studies of the historical background of Pakistan, see the master's 
thesis of Mu'inu-d-Din Ahmad Khan, cited above, chap, s, ref. 3; and A. R. 
Ghani, Pakistan: a Select Bibliography, Lahore, 1951 (this last does not 
include Urdu material). For literature on Pakistan since its inception, see the 
forthcoming revised ed. of this last; and note especially the forthcoming 
monograph, Keith A. Callard, Pakistan; a Political Study, London and New 
York, 1957. 

® Indeed, certain of the external factors in the situation served to stimulate 
the latent religious factors in Islam at this particular point. 

In Christendom, a religious emphasis on organized community life is also 
to be found. Yet there it has been perhaps less strong, and in any case has 
found its chief expression in the Church, an institution unknown in Islam. 
In the Western tradition, accordingly, die striving towards autonomy for the 
religious group has led to a struggle between church and state; in the Islamic, 
to a struggle for a state. Further, that same striving has in the former case 
led to the concept of a secular state, that recognizes a community’s inherent 
right to religious independence, with which the state must not interfere; 
in the latter, to the concept of an Islamic state. 

Under the British Raj, the Muslim community in India was restless enough. 
Like other groups, it aspired to eject foreign control, and as we have noted, 
formulated its aspiration at times in its own religious terms. Yet that Raj 
was secular in the sense indicated: it was willing to go quite far in defining 
the limits of the religious sphere within which it would not meddle. Muslims 
apprehended that in a united independent India they would find themselves 
under a considerably less "secular” regime. The religious impulse towards 
Islamic community autarchy, therefore, already simmering under British 
secularism, became ebullient at the threat of Hindu “domination.” ("No, 
it was not Iqbal who produced Pakistan; it was the Hindus.”) [Note: in this 
chapter unidentified quotations reproduce remarks made to us in personal 
conversation by Muslims in Pakistan.] 


2II 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

as it did. We shall see later that that particular form of the devel- 
opment has affected also the subsequent history of even the Islamic 
aspects of the venture. Yet it is also true that this emergence of 
Pakistan would never have happened had it not been for the 
Muslims’ still dynamic religious orientation to this world. 

The objective conditions of the moment meant that Pakistan 
assumed this or that specific shape, became a particular form of 
state. The special quality of the Muslims’ inherited faith, on the 
other hand, meant that whatever its objective form, Pakistan was 
at heart an Islamic state. 

It is this Islamic nature of the state (quite independent of its 
form) that explains the joyous and devoted loyalty that it initially 
aroused. The establishment of Pakistan in 1 947 was greeted by its 
Muslim citizenry with a resonant enthusiasm, despite the cata- 
strophic terror and chaos of its early months. Indeed, without the 
stamina and morale generated by religious fervour the new do- 
minion would hardly have survived the devastations of its first 
disorders. Pakistan by virtue of being Islamic (in an as yet un- 
defined sense) could call on a morale and integration that proved 
of prime significance not only in creating the nation but in sus- 
taining it in hardship and in impelling it forward to energetic 
construction. 

This enthusiasm later seemed to peter out or was frustrated, 
as we shall presently consider. For the moment, however, we must 
remember that for the early years it was exuberant. 

The ardent emphasis on this new ‘Islamic’ state attracted the 
attention of outsiders. These, however, were in danger of not see- 
ing the wood for the trees. They were puzzled by the fervour for 
an Islamic state seemingly accompanied by a vast obscurity as to 
its nature, or at least an inability on the part of those involved to 
declare what they had in mind. They failed to realize that funda- 
mentally it was the fact that Pakistan existed, and not its form, 
that had such stirring religious significance. 

To Pakistanis zealous about their Islamic state, the question 
was repeatedly put: What kind of state is that? In many cases, no 
answer could be given. In others, replies ranged widely, from his- 
torical examples taken from earlier Islam, more or less idealized, 
to descriptions seemingly more or less indistinguishable from pat- 
terns known or idealized in the modern West. The questioner was 
searching for characteristics that would distinguish an Islamic 


21Z 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

from other kinds of state: to find wherein it differed from a demo- 
cratic or a secular or a liberal or, for that matter, a Christian state. 
Indeed, there was a temptation to conclude that the concept was 
meaningless except in so far as this difference could be isolated 
and defined. Some would even suppose that the enthusiasm was 
for that margin of difference. Yet in fact the enthusiasm was often 
for precisely those aspects of the Islamic state that seemed common 
to it and to the normal Western concepts: democracy, brother- 
hood, justice, and the like. Moreover, the supposition of course 
left unexplained the enthusiasm of those many who could give 
no answer at all. 

The question is significant, and we shall have to return to it. 
Yet it clearly misses something fundamental in the mind and 
heart of the Muslim. For in the first instance, an Islamic state is 
not a form of state so much as a form of Islam. 

It is to be distinguished not so much from other kinds of state — 
liberal, democratic, fascist, or whatever — as from other expressions 
of Islam as a religion. As there is Islamic art, Islamic theology, 
Islamic mysticism, so there is or may be an Islamic state. Before 
August 14, 1947, the Muslims of India had their art, their the- 
ology, their mysticism; but they had no state. When Jinnah pro- 
posed to them that they should work to get themselves one, they 
responded with a surging enthusiasm. Their attainment, on that 
date, of a state of their own was greeted with an elation that was 
religious as well as personal. It was considered a triumph not only 
for Muslims but for Islam. 

Islam, as a living force in world history, is carried by the Mus- 
lims; their art is its art, their theology is its theology. And to some 
degree, their misfortunes, their suffering, their weaknesses, are its 
woe. Art, theology, and other such creative expressions of religion 
are to some extent imperishable. Mosques, miniatures, and manu- 
als may be preserved long after the ages in which they are pro- 
duced. States, however, rise and fall; and vanish, leaving only 
memories behind. As we have throughout stressed, Islam in its 
recent history, especially the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 
had after eras of brilliance and might gone through a low period 
in which it had lost many things, preserved many things, but in 
most of the world had lost its political power. In most parts, it 
had no state. The Muslims of India, by their struggle through the 
.Muslim League, in 1947 gave it one. 


2x3 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

Ideologically it was not a territorial or an economic or a lin- 
guistic or even, strictly, a national community that was seeking 
a state, but a religious community. The drive for an Islamic state 
in India was in origin not a process by which a state sought 
Islamicness but one by which Islam sought a state. 

There is a rough parallel (in some aspects, of course, very rough 
indeed) to the case of Communism. This prior to 19 ly was an 
ideological movement driven by the nature of its own aspirations 
to seek political power, through which alone it could implement 
itself. When Lenin and his party seized office in the October 
Revolution, Communism passed from being a movement carried 
by an organized community of people without a state of their own, 
living in other people’s states, and advocating that society ought to 
be organized in a certain way, to a new stage of development. 
From 1917 it could be said that Russia was a Communist state — 
not in the sense that it was any particular kind of state, organized 
from the beginning in the way that Communism advocated, for 
this it was not and did not claim to be; but simply because it was 
a state at all, and one that the Communists in charge could now 
endeavour to construct (or use) according to Communism’s 
principles.® 

We do not mean — and certainly the Pakistani devotees did not 
mean — that any independent state comprising Muslims is auto- 
matically Islamic. This is in fact not so. Egyptians, Turks, and 
other Muslims do not talk, do not feel, about their body politic 
as Pakistanis began excitedly to do about theirs. Indonesians have 
deliberated whether or not to call their republic “Islamic,” and 
so far have decided against it. Certainly Pakistanis themselves 

■'Although tlie Muslim League claimed that it was. The traditional word 
qawm was used, and in English, “nation.” Perhaps no other item in the 
platform gave rise to so much confusion and dismay as this term, and the 
“two-nation” theory. On one of the contradictions involved, and something 
of the consequent disruption, see on the nation/two-nation matter below, 
chap. 6, p. 256 at ref. 1 and pp. 271-72. 

s This analogy is in part disrupted, as was the situation in the Soviet Union 
itself, by the inner contradictions inherent in the fact that Marxism is 
theoretically materialist. The ensuing distinction from Islam is profound and 
crucial, that while Communism may treat ideals as an instrument for attain- 
ing political power (cf. “Lenin defined Marxism as the revolutionary theory 
and tactics of the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat” — ^V. Adorat- 
sky, Dialectical Materialism, opening sentence; Indian ed., Calcutta, n.d., 
p. 5), Islam treats political power as an instrument for attaining ideals. 


214 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

Strongly felt their nation to be an Islamic state in a fashion unique 
in the modern world. Indeed, part of their enthusiasm was pre- 
cisely for the point that they were doing something for Islam that 
other present-day Muslims were not doing: that they were offering 
it a political existence that otherwise it has not had for centuries. 
Yet once again, their claim was based not on what their nation 
had accomplished; rather, on the spirit that it embodied. 

Their contention was that in other states today the people are 
individually, even socially, Muslims; but their political life is 
Western-nationalist, is alien, imported. In theory and in practice, 
both by statute and by intent, they are politically Egyptians, or 
Turks, or Indonesians, or whatever. The principle of many aspects 
of their lives is religion, even deeply so; but the principle of their 
state is not, and does not pretend to be. A nation is not more 
Islamic than its people intend it to be. In the Pakistan case, on 
the other hand, these exponents contended, the whole raison d’Stre 
of the state was Islam: it was Islam that first brought it into being, 
and that continued to give it meaning. The purpose of setting up 
the state was to enable Muslims here to take up once again the 
task of implementing their faith also in the political realm. 

The Objectives Resolution, 1949, fired Muslim enthusiasm 
when it expressed such a purpose.® The Constitution, 1956, despite 

® Objectives Resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, 
Karachi, March la, 1949. The Resolution spoke of the state as an arena of 
Islamic democracy, justice, etc., and as a state "wherein the Muslims shall 
be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in 
accord with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy 
Quran and the Sunna” (official English version). Subsequent years have 
dimmed the enthusiasm that greeted this Resolution; but one must remember 
that enthusiasm and its historical importance. The remarks of the Prime 
Minister while introducing the Resolution may also be recalled: inter alia, 
"The State is not to play the part of a neutral observer, wherein the Muslims 
may be merely free to profess and practise their religion, because such an 
attitude on the part of the State would be the very negation of the ideals 
which prompted the demand of Pakistan, and it is these ideals which should 
be the corner-stone of the State which we want to build. The State will create 
such conditions as are conducive to the building up of a truly Islamic Society, 
which means that the State will have to play a positive part in this effort” — 
Liyaqat ‘All Khan, in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, speech of 
March 7, 1949, in moving the motion introducing the Objectives Resolution. 
(As given in the government pamphlet Fundamentals of Freedom, Karachi, 
n.d. [sc. 1949]; pp. 36-27.) The Prime Minister’s entire speech will repay 
close study; also that in Urdu of Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad ‘Usmanl. As we 
indicate below, ref. 19, this Resolution and the Munir Report together 


213 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


much intervening disillusionment, still gave explicit form to such 
an aspirationd“ 

It is the intention here involved that is decisive. We have argued 
that an Islamic state is not in the first instance one that conforms 
to a prescribed ideal pattern. Neither is it one merely in which 
Muslims live or rule. Rather it is a state through which Muslims’ 
purpose is to live or rule (in a democracy, to live and rule) as 
Muslims. If there is an ideal Islamic state, an archetypal political 
form, then an actual Islamic state is one that tends towards it — 
though of course it will never arrive. A state is Islamic in actuality 
if it aims at becoming Islamic ideally. 

That is, the degree to which a state is Islamic in a first sense de- 
pends not on the extent to which its citizens have succeeded in 
arriving at their goals, but on the vitality and sincerity and intel- 
ligence with which they are in pursuit of them. Pakistan came into 
being as already an Islamic state not because its form was ideal 
but because, or in so far as, its dynamic was idealist. 

We are differentiating, then, between the actual and the ideal; 
between what is and what ought to be. One must discriminate 
between earth and heaven, between human history and faith’s 
transcendent vision. Yet one must note as well that these are 
linked in the heart of man, who is a citizen of two worlds, and 
whose life and history consist of the ongoing struggle to relate 
them. 

The work of an artist is religious art not by virtue of attaining 
a given religious goal but by virtue of aiming at it. It is the dream 
in the mind of the artist, his motivation and aspiration, that are 
given by his faith. To clothe these with actuality is a creative 
endeavour. Similarly with theology. Not every school of theologi- 
cal thought throughout Muslim history has given perfect intel- 
lectual expression to the faith. Indeed, none has. Doubtless it is 
impossible to attain such perfection, to put a religion adequately 
into words. Yet every attempt to express Islam in theoretical 
terms is in fact an instance of Islamic theology. That is, any sys- 


represent in polar fashion much of the fundamentals of Pakistan’s early 
religious development. 

1° Except for some interesting verbal changes, the Objectives Resolution 
is repeated, substantially intact, as the Preamble to the Constitution of the 
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, adopted by the Constituent Assembly, Karachi, 
February 29, 1956, and set in force as from March 23, 1956. 

2X6 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

tern of ideas is Islamic theology in actuality in so far as its author 
is trying to make it Islamic theology ideally. 

The same is true of any faith; Christian, Taoist, or whatever. 
It is always impossible to make the transcendent actual. Yet mean- 
ingful life consists in the creative endeavour to do so. One becomes 
a Buddhist not by living up to the teachings of the Buddha or the 
principles of Buddhism, but by undertaking to do so. One might 
say that that man is Buddhist who tries to be a Buddhist. Islamic 
history has never been Islamic in the ideal sense. Life is too com- 
plex for that. Nonetheless it is Islamic history; and is significant 
because the Muslims who created it have been inspired by Islam 
as an ideal. Islamic history, like the history of Christians and of 
others, has been less than ideal because of the complications of 
infinite factors from human greed to economic necessity, from 
indolence and error to environmental intractability and inter- 
ference. But also like Christians’ and indeed all human history, 
however consequential these mundane factors might be, Islamic 
history would not have taken place at all were it not for the 
transcendent ideal, a final cause. 

To declare Pakistan an Islamic Republic was to proclaim an 
aspiration. 

The Process of Becoming 

To set up an Islamic state, then, was the beginning, not the 
end, of an adventure. The enthusiasm that greeted the triumph of 
Pakistan’s establishment gradually gave way in the recognition 
that the very meaning of the achievement lay now in a new and 
ever evolving question; ivhat was to become of it. It was not 
enough to achieve an Islamic state; there was still the ineluctable 
matter of its development. To deal with mundane existence is to 
deal with fluidity; even when one has, as do Muslims, a transcend- 
ent, timeless reference as one’s norm. Even a religion can make 
no Standstill Agreement with history. 

To achieve an Islamic state was to attain not a form but a 
process. 

We allowed ourselves above an analogy between the establish- 
ment of the Soviet state in 1917 as a significant point in the history 
of Communism, and the establishment of Pakistan in 1947 as a 
significant point in the history of Islam. Such an analogy may 
remind us that revolutions may be betrayed. 


2iy 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

For there is this further, inescapable aspect of the fact that the 
Islamic state then set up was, like all social institutions, a thing 
in flux. Being within history, it was in motion. It could get worse 
as well as better. The years that ensued for the new nation once it 
had come into being presented a period of development in which 
not only could the intention of its Muslim population to make 
their state Islamic in an ideal sense be carried out. The oppor- 
tunity was afforded also for that intention to be compromised, 
frustrated, neglected, or abandoned. 

We must turn, therefore, to seeing what the Muslims have 
made, in the first few years, of the state that they set up. Having 
attempted to elucidate the meaning of the actual Islamic state, we 
must now attempt to elucidate its history. 

The first point is obvious: that that history has been complex. 
This was the first point brought home to the religionists them- 
selves; although in some cases it became obvious rather painfully. 
The question facing the Pakistan Muslims as to what to make of 
their new state had many aspects. As we have seen, many fervently 
held that, so far as the religious aspect was concerned, the task 
was to make it ideally Islamic. It quickly became apparent, how- 
ever, that the matter was far from simple. It was not merely that 
there was obscurity as to what this meant. It was not merely that 
there was no plan as to how to arrive even at such goals as were 
proffered. First of all, there was the overwhelming fact, relent- 
lessly pushing forward from day to day, that the religious aspect 
was not the only aspect, or perhaps not even the prime aspect, of 
the question. 

Delays in deciding issues at the Islamic level, obstacles thrust 
up by religious implications, claims put forward in the interests 
of Islam — all these could not stop the inexorable march of this 
massive reality. They could not even hide it; they seemed rather 
to render it more stark. Whether or not Pakistan, the actual 
Islamic state, was in process of becoming an ideal Islamic state, 
it was surely in conspicuous and unrestrainable process of becom- 
ing a great many other things. 

Some of the other aspects seemed even prior, in logic and in 
fact. This came to the fore immediately, with the trauma of the 
country’s birth. The cataclysm of partition, with its massacres and 
stupendous disruption, evoked a quick and unreflecting agony of 
activity, to salvage the tottering situation and to make something 

218 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

of Pakistan rather than letting it disintegrate or succumb in ruins 
to circumstance and foe. The imperious need to make Pakistan 
survive overshadowed at first all question of giving it this or that 
form, of selecting some shape for its destiny. This need of survival 
continued to be important, if not actually dominant. As the first 
wild months were mastered and the new dominion rose to its feet 
from the bludgeonings of its inauspicious inauguration, it began 
slowly to cast about for guidance and to consider where it wished 
to go. Yet one may imagine that it will be some while yet before 
our relentless modern world allows such a nation the luxury of 
choosing, or even of thinking to choose, its course very freely. It 
will never, of course, reach a freedom that is not within a context 
of viscous circumstance. 

These two considerations, then, with varying force have pressed 
and will continue to press on the country’s populace: what steps 
they must take if their country is not to collapse, as well as what 
kind of country they would like it to be. 

The two differ; yet they are not unrelated. To make Pakistan 
viable, and to make it Islamic, might theoretically be envisaged 
as in certain conditions even contradictory; while in kinder cir- 
cumstances supplementary. Yet in the process of history they are 
in fact intertwined. For the possibility of each in some fashion 
embraces the necessity of the other. 

The viability of any nation depends on many things, including 
the morale of its people. In Pakistan’s case, its initial Islamic 
quality called forth that active loyalty without which it would 
never have survived the nightmare of its first six months. Without 
some similar allegiance, persistent and constructive, one may 
guess that it will hardly survive the numerous other challenges 
with which for some time it will doubtless continue to be faced. 

That Pakistan’s being Islamic depends, in turn, on its viability 
is still more evident. Manifestly the most idealistic Muslim cannot 
bend the shape of Pakistan to any preconceived model or cherished 
goal, unless he ensures or is willing to let the government ensure 
the nation’s continuing existence. This would seem platitudinous, 
but is in effect exceedingly significant, even religiously. For 
viability in the interdependent, competitive, technological world 
of today necessitates many modernities, from industrialization to 
intellectual flexibility, that are not explicit, and might appear 



PAKISTAN; ISLAMIC STATE 

not even implicit, in his preconceived model or cherished Islamic 
goal. 

To responsible or imaginative Pakistanis it was quickly demon- 
strated that survival itself is no simple matter. In our day — as 
indeed in any day — survival demands unceasing vigilance, techni- 
cal competence, creative intelligence, enormous hard work. In 
fields from chemical research to international finance, and from 
military power and economic entrepreneurship to administrative 
sagacity and political finesse, such ability and energy as the nation 
could muster were in importunate demand. 

Matters such as these, then, served not only to modify ideology 
but also peremptorily to distract the effective leadership of Paki- 
stan from expressly religious objectives. Moreover, there were 
other orders of consideration also that decisively impinged on the 
historical development of the new Islamic state. These too had 
practical, and for intelligent persons also theoretical, conse- 
quences. One tvas the universal matter of human fallibility. 
Another was the particular nature of the specific leadership that 
was in fact in power in Pakistan. 

The former point, once presented, requires but little comment, 
though no little stress. National objectives, whether idealistic or 
pragmatic, Islamic or administrative-technological, are one thing. 
Individual motivation is another, and may range from self-interest 
and ambition on to greed and downright dishonesty, not always 
on a small scale. Not only are Pakistani Muslims, like the rest of 
us, human enough that some become so bogged down in day-to- 
day procedures as to lose sight of long-range objectives and ulti- 
mate visions. Not only are they human enough that some enter 
government service or the universities or other socially significant 
posts not primarily to serve a country or a cause, but to earn 
themselves a living. There are, as in other countries, more serious 
lapses from and even perversions of the goals. So much has this 
been so that within the first few years in the case of some of the 
provinces, entire governments were dismissed on charges of “mal- 
administration, gross misconduct and corruption.”^^ And through- 
out the country the population has repeatedly found itself 
confronted with instances of social immorality. These have in 

Press communique issued from the Sindh Governor’s secretariat, April 126, 
1948, announcing the dismissal of the provincial government. 


220 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

many cases been striking enough to sober the exhilaration of the 
Islamicists. 

As an observer penetratingly remarked: “These people may not 
take interest. But they can certainly take bribes. . . 

This corruption has been of prime significance in the political 
and economic history of Pakistan. It has also had religious signifi- 
cance, in several ways. One is the growing aivareness of the moral 
problem in matters of national conduct. This can affect the notion 
of an ideal Islamic state in two opposite ways. On the one hand, 
those who press for a radical reorientation may insist the more 
emphatically that the present social order is manifestly corrupt 
and decadent and must be replaced with a new, Islamic one, in- 
formed with the moral principles and discipline of the" faith. On 
the other hand, some have found the political pretensions of 
Islamic society discredited, and have felt that the basic and cer- 
tainly prerequisite task of Islam or any moral movement is to 
produce men of character and integrity, rather than to strive after 
a political organization that, however ideal in theory, men with- 
out character and integrity can and conspicuously do corrupt. 

Their hesitation has been furthered by the prominent matter 
of hypocrisy. In instances where persons in public life abandon 
genuine goals, Islamic or national, to pursue their own devious 
ends, they have often found it possible and convenient to hide 
their immorality behind the paraphernalia of formal conformity, 
cloaking their nefarious procedure rvith religious symbols, play- 
ing upon religious emotions, and accusing those who would 
criticize them of being “against Islam.” This is the old story of the 
cynical political exploitability of religion. As in other societies, 
it has been used in Pakistan both by those in office, in an attempt 
to maintain their power, and by those thirsting for it, in an at- 
tempt to manoeuvre their way in. In both cases, it is the outward, 
static elements of religious faith, its formalisms and tangibilities, 
tlrat are in play; rather than the inner human qualities, the dy- 
namic pursuit of transcendent values. Nonetheless, the excitement 
is real. It seems part of the genius of religious faith across the 
world to be easily aroused over false issues. 

These developments have given food for thought to those Paki- 
stanis concerned with the eventual Islamicization of the state; as 
well as providing important observations to those concerned with 
the interim mundane process of the nation. We turn to what is 


221 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


from both points of view probably one of the most decisive ele- 
ments in Pakistan’s history so far: namely, the nature and position 
of the nation’s leadership. 

When the new dominion came into existence, its leadership in 
the most general terms was constituted of the Muslim Westerniz- 
ing bourgeoisie which for a century had been gradually building 
up in India its distinctive position, social, economic, and intel- 
lectual. This tiny minority was sharply marked off from the gen- 
erality of the Indo-Muslim community by the intense experience, 
the virtual transformation, through which it had gone in its rapid 
‘modernization’: its active relation to the new sources of wealth, 
power, and ideas in the intrusive twentieth-century world. From 
the rest of the Indian bourgeoisie it was sharply marked off in a 
growingly communalist situation by being Muslim, by being a 
minority, according to its own claim less advanced and severely 
disadvantaged. (Those Muslim members of the Indian middle 
class who did not choose or were not forced into separatism, 
emerged after 1947, not in Pakistan but in India.)^^ 

Political leadership specifically lay with the recently expanded 
Muslim League political party. In other fields as well, economic, 
administrative, and intellectual, Pakistan began its career in the 
hands of this class of men. 

The languages of the class were Urdu and English. It is not 
irrelevant to the development of the geographical two units that 
emerged, that this leadership was drawn from throughout what 
had been India, with a particular concentration from the United 
Provinces, and with but a handful from Bengal. The group was 
further marked off, therefore, from the mass of the Pakistan popu- 
ation that it was leading by deriving only in part directly from the 
peoples led. 

The signal qualities of the leadership, however, with regard to 
the problem before us, were two. One was their unique fitness in 
the realm of making the new state viable. The other has been 
their inaptness for the task of rendering it Islamic. 

The class concerned comprised those with a virtual monopoly 
of the qualifications needed for running a modern state. In the 
matter of knowing one’s way around the modern world, both in 

12 For a history of the development of this class, until the eve of the attain- 
ment of Pakistan, see the material cited above at ref. 5. 


222 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

general and in the elaborate, exacting business o£ often intricate 
detail, these men were incomparably ahead of the more tradi- 
tionally Islamic sections of the community. They had the dis- 
posable capital, as well as the idea and tradition of economic 
organization. They had the administrative experience, as well as 
the understanding of legal, social, and political processes. They 
had some scientific competence, as well as some apprehension of 
what science is all about and what its actual and potential role 
is in modern life. They were trained; the rest of the community 
was not. 

It is patent, therefore, that without their management Pakistan 
would have floundered quickly. They were administratively suc- 
cessful, in some ways brilliantly so, in the crucial task of organizing 
the nation and enabling it to take its place in contemporary world 
affairs. And they have continued to carry it forward into the im- 
mense constructive task awaiting it, of gradually rearing on austere 
and even friable foundations the vast structure of a prosperous 
modern state. 

These are no mean achievements. We do not mean that their 
success has been radiant; the suggestion is absurd. We mean rather 
that the task was more than formidable; and it was not clear that 
any other group available could have done nearly as well. 

Yet in this ongoing task of carrying the nation out of initial 
chaos towards eventual stability and prosperity, they have been 
increasingly hampered if not betrayed by their critical failure to 
hold the confidence and to inspire the cooperation of those whom 
they would lead. To many in the country they have seemed, in 
fact, to have clung to power but to have abdicated leadership. 

We are speaking not merely of a political party but of a whole 
class, at least in its higher ranks; including administrators, busi- 
ness personnel, and professional men. 

The failure has, of course, many aspects. Yet essentially, in our 
view, it has consisted in the inability of this group so far to give 
leadership to the Islamic state idea. In the circumstances, this 
has amounted to both a moral and political failure, with exceed- 
ingly discouraging results. 

Ironically, it is the very qualification of this group to provide 
modern leadership at all that has disqualified it for leadership in 
this special field. The history of Muslim India during the past 
century has been such that those who acquired the competence to 


223 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

serve Pakistan’s modern viability tended in the process to become 
cut off from the sources that would have enabled them to strive 
competently towards making it Islamic. There has thus come dis- 
quietingly into practical effectiveness the deepest recent problem 
of Indian Islam: the great bifurcation between the religious tradi- 
tion and modernity. 

When the community was first penetrated by the forces of the 
modern world, its reaction was much the same as that in the rest of 
the Muslim world. In addition to incomprehension, indifference, 
and resistance, some small segments of society began to adjust 
themselves, even creatively, to the new dynamics. The social, eco- 
nomic, and intellectual modernization through which these seg- 
ments then went was not, however, matched on the religious 
plane. To these men. leadership shifted in all spheres of life — 
except the religious. Religious leadership remained substantially 
with the forms, the idiom, the milieu, the personnel of an earlier 
age. The Islamic tradition in the community in its central massive- 
ness continued relatively unaffected by the new conditions. Those 
who adapted themselves to these latter, accordingly, tended to lose 
vital or at least creative contact with it. 

This process is illustrated most clearly in the educational system. 
Training in matters other than religion was developed in one set 
of institutions, with one orientation; training in classical and 
mediaeval Islamics in and with quite another. The divergence was 
not only in subjects studied and pupils taught, but in method 
and flavour and valuation; a divergence that became fundamental 
to the whole social order. Even when there was a token attempt 
to bring the two teachings together in one school, it was rather in 
juxtaposition than in integration or synthesis or even harmony; 
so that perhaps the dichotomy only stood out more clearly.^® By 
and large, persons growing up with a modern education, and per- 
sons growing up with a technical and critical competence to 
handle the Islamic tradition, were two different sets of people. The 
arrangement seemed calculated to send the former group forth 
into life at most respecting and feeling — often very deeply — the 
religious heritage, rather than thinking it. 

One frequently meets the assertion that the basic religious 

15 As, for instance, at Aligarh. Cf. the present writer’s "Ek Sawal,” ‘Aligarh 
Maygazln, 1953-54, i954-55< Aligarh, 1955, pp. 81-83. 

22 ^ 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

problem of Muslims today stems from the impact of modernity^^ 
upon Islam. The judgement seems to us superficial. Throughout 
human history there has been an impact of modernity upon tradi- 
tion, including religious tradition. It has never been so accelerated 
as today; but in principle the matter is not new. The dilemma of 
contemporary Muslims stems ratlier from the divergence of the 
two, each going its separate way. This has been of profound conse- 
quence in Pakistan; and in this Pakistan is not unique. One might 
almost argue that the fundamental religious problem for con- 
temporary Muslims has to do with the fact that the impact of 
modernity upon the Islamic tradition has not been nearly strong 
enough. 

At least, now that they are an independent people, called upon 
responsibly to relate their faith and their own^'* contemporary 
living, their difficulty is, to say the least, enhanced by the fact that 
for seventy-five years their religious tradition has been kept in an 
almost water-tight compartment. It has been relatively cut off and 
sheltered from the developments that have inundated the rest of 
their lives, and has been unattuned to humanity’s netv upsurge 
in which it is now their lively ambition to have their own ‘Islamic’ 
nation creatively participate. 

The gulf widened. Yet we do not at all mean that the modern- 
izers had become quite irreligious. In rare cases this happened; 
more generally religious enthusiasiu, at least, remained strong. It 
was the function of apologetic, for instance, to keep it so; and in 
this it did not fail. Besides, the general momentum of a centuries- 
old faith is powerful: Muslims do not so easily relinquish their 
piety. Islam remained important, even for those for whom its 
formulation was remote. Nor do we mean that no move at all was 
made to bridge the gap. In our second chapter above, surveying 
recent Muslim history, instances were given of some steps taken 
along the path of reinterpretation. We noted at the time, however, 
that on the whole these concerned the peripheral rather than 
central affirmations of the faith.^® 

The evolution of the modernizing bourgeoisie produced, then, 
a class of people who maintained a generalized and sometimes 

Or, the impact of the West. This is even more superficial. 

Their own, not Western; at least, not primarily and not much. Cf. the 
preceding ref. 

IB Cf. above, chap, a, pp. 59. 65-66. 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

profound allegiance to a somewhat undefined Islam, and an opera- 
tive and sometimes fiery sentiment of cohesion with the Muslim 
community. Our position here is simply that they were but little 
equipped to offer effective leadership in creative Islamics. 

They could maintain their own religiousness, even perhaps in 
an unfamiliar world, particularly in the realm of feeling. But they 
have seemed unable to advance their faith significantly, and espe- 
cially to advance significantly the faith of others who looked to 
them for guidance in entering the brave new world of Pakistan’s 
aspiration. 

There has been an apparent failure to generate an interpreta- 
tion of Islam that could serve as an effective, realistic, meaningful 
ideology, or framework for ideology, in the present situation. In 
speaking of this failure, one must not underestimate the magni- 
tude of the task against which these men were being measured. 
Here, under highly distracting and difficult conditions, they found 
what is the essential and universal problem of Islam in the modern 
world, confronting them in a concrete and urgent form. Islam was 
presented to them in a form inherited from an earlier and very 
different day; the fluid complexities of modernity were embodied 
for them in the immediate responsibilities of a particularly de- 
manding national life. Their task was to relate the two realisti- 
cally, creatively. They have not, as yet, discharged it effectively. 

Further, when we speak of failure, we do not do so analytically. 
It would obviously be presumptuous for us to seem to set up formal 
or ideal criteria for assessment. Even more would it be indiscreet 
to suggest any kind of moral indictment. Our statement aims 
rather at attaining an objective description of what has historically 
happened. It is an observable fact that in the first decade of 
Pakistan’s history the leadership failed to (that is, did not) lead 
the Pakistani aspiration towards an Islamic quality for the state. 

This is an observable fact that we believe would be disputed 
by few, whether inside that leadership, or among potential fol- 
lowers, or among outside students. It has been also a momentous 
fact. Pakistan’s coming into being was such that an Islamic failure 
has tended to become an ideological failure, a moral failure, and 
a political failure. 

The political failure lies in the degree to which the dominant 
class has largely lost the confidence of the populace. Leadership 
implies a following. However competent in detail, leadership is 


226 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

not, cannot be, effective unless what it offers is such that those 
concerned are happy, or at least reasonably content, to follow. In 
Pakistan it was called upon to lead a people agog with a surging 
enthusiasm to build a better world. The dream was cast in an 
Islamic form. Clearly, then, the leadership either must persuade 
that people to change the form, to adopt some other goal, or else 
must choose between satisfying or frustrating the deep aspiration. 
The most conspicuous outcome has in fact been wide-spread 
frustration. 

Disillusionment, not least a disillusionment with the governing 
class, has observably settled upon the national life. If no other 
group is available to take its place, this but makes for the more 
dejection. 

More subtle, but probably still more serious, has been the 
internal demoralization. Within the leadership itself a failure of 
idealism has become manifest. Some of that small group of Indo- 
Muslims who voted against Pakistan did so on the grounds not 
that they were against the Islamic state idea but that these par- 
ticular leaders were surely unfit, unable, to effect it. Others, in 
both India and Pakistan, have subsequently accused the leadership 
of insincerity. They would now dismiss as sheer bombast and 
patent affectation any talk from those in authority about Islamic 
or even national ideals. Part of the extensive disillusionment just 
mentioned finds expression in the view that the Muslim bour- 
geoisie in leading the Pakistan movement (or at least in leading 
it since Partition or since Mr. Jinnah’s or anyway since Mr. 
Liyaqat ‘AH’s death), has been devoted primarily to its own class 
or provincial or even individual interests, chiefly economic, and 
has been exploiting Pakistan and its own position within it to 
advance those selfish aims. People who hold this view are not 
unable to give illustrations of what they mean. 

For the dominant group in the country has largely failed not 
only to inspire the rest of the population to a constructive and 
realistic Islamic striving in the national interest. They have 
largely failed also to inspire themselves. The absence of a mean- 
ingful and compelling social ideal for the persons occupying the 
key posts in the society was serious. It meant not only that those 
among them who devoted themselves creatively and sustainedly to 
the national interest formed but a tiny minority. Such a minority, 
however small, may achieve much if surrounded and buttressed 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

by Others in key positions whose dynamic is perhaps not lively 
enough to carry them significantly beyond the discharge of their 
assigned duties but whose honesty and loyalty are sufficient to 
make their routine performance reliable, and perhaps generous. 
The tragedy of Pakistan lay in the fact that the morale to main- 
tain even this group was in danger of proving inadequate. 

The course of events in Pakistan history so far has suggested 
that a significant number of the ruling class had so far lost touch 
with the vital, central matters in the Islamic tradition that they 
were not only unable to create an effective ideology for an Islamic 
state in the twentieth century, but were even unable to respond 
to moral values rather than to the temptations of personal ambi- 
tion and greed. 

The classical form of Islam had been conspicuously successful 
in rearing men of character, sensitively obedient to moral impera- 
tives and far too courageous to be deflected by private gain. It 
continued this service to society long after it had ceased to sponsor 
political power. The modern form of Islam, on the other hand, 
seemed to many in Pakistan to be demonstrating the inability of 
the new Islamic state to come to fruition through a failure in 
active loyalty and even in elementary honesty. 

We refer not merely to the peculation that in and out of gov- 
ernment gave rise throughout the country to a sense of grievance 
or despair. Such matters as the handling of evacuee property, 
commercial licensing, contracts, and so on were symptoms of a 
deeper, more widespread malady. These were positive aspects of 
a fundamentally negative matter, outer and not necessarily the 
most important expressions of an inner failure. This is the failure 
of Pakistan to command the constructive fidelity of its dominant 
class. 

Demoralization reached such a pitch that many of the intelli- 
gentsia gave serious thought to emigrating. This illumines not 
merely the discouraging condition of their environment. At the 
same time it betokens the alarming irresponsibility within their 
own spirits. Similarly, the complaints against ‘the failure of lead- 
ership’ were many, petulant, and bitter; and although the public 
welfare was, as we have seen, indeed threatened by the behaviour 
that widely elicited complaints, yet it was jeopardized no less by 
the inclination of others to complain rather than to strive. 

The vast discouragement was a cause, as well as a result, of the 


228 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

national dislocation. A failure of leadership is a failure of potential 
as well as actual leaders. The absence of an effective motive for 
loyal service affected not only the latter. It meant that the former 
too were not stimulated to be realistically productive. 

Finally, we may give specific consideration to the role of the 
intellectuals as a class. Perhaps it would be more precise to speak 
of the absence of their role. Pakistan, we have argued, has con- 
spicuously suffered from a lack of effectual ideas. It is the task of 
the intellectuals in a society to supply the ideas with which the 
society may effectively and truly handle the problems with which 
it has to deal. The failure here, since the death of Iqbal, has been 
sad. 

It is not merely that individual members of the intelligentsia 
often did not tackle their tasks in the realm of thinking with the 
vigour, honesty, and courage that were ruthlessly needed. In addi- 
tion, the society as a whole seemed not to recognize how central 
and responsible a task that of the intellectuals was. In this there 
was perhaps some parallel to, and even encouragement by, other 
societies throughout the modern world. In some degree at least 
there has appeared in many places a tendency to lose sight of how 
critical a role they play — especially in times of stress. Amidst all 
the talk of economic advance and technical training, Pakistan has 
not been alone in failing adequately to recognize that economic 
and technical progress and even governmental operations and 
social stability cannot proceed if the intellectuals do not fulfil 
their function. Pakistan has, however, unfortunately had to pay 
the price of this error more quickly than most other nations. 

The matter went deeper. For here even the intellectuals them- 
selves seemed hardly to recognize their role even theoretically. 
The class had developed over the past century but had not yet 
been consciously and functionally integrated with the life of the 
community. Editors and writers and the universities gave but 
little impression that they realized that the nation s survival 
turned in significant measure on the ability of its thinkers to 
think correctly and creatively. 

Especially there was little evidence of an operative ronviction 
that the responsible intellect has a duty to solve also religious and 
moral problems; or that reason, like faith, is an intermediary be- 
tween the divine and humanity’s activity in history.^^ 

Q£ ‘"pjie Intellectuals in the Modern Development of the Islamic 

22g 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


Some might be disposed to argue that this matter was ultimately 
related to the absence of an effective tradition from Greece; others, 
that it was but one more illustration of the general despondency 
that had settled on Pakistan. Whatever the cause, it was serious. 

The Westernizing middle class of Pakistan, then, has failed to 
evolve a successful ideology. It has not succeeded in putting for- 
ward in this realm anything winsome and feasible, eliciting the 
intellectual assent, moral commitment, and constructive energy 
of its own members. It has not persuaded the masses of the popula- 
tion that the programme on which it has embarked is significantly 
related to their own convictions and aspirations, is calculated to 
fulfil their hopes. 

We are suggesting that this fact has profoundly affected the 
early history of Pakistan. We have already touched on the waning 
morale in this class’s own ranks. We may touch briefly on more 
concrete ramifications elsewhere. 

The most striking perhaps were the fierce Panjab “disturb- 
ances” of 1953, in fact a vast heresy hunt. Many thousands of 
citizens, with extremely wide popular support throughout the 
province, rioted murderously, in almost pogrom-like fashion, 
against the dissident sect of Ahmadis and against the government 
for not declaring these to be religiously and politically outside the 
pale. The riots have been fully described and analysed, and the 
movement leading up to them has been studied, in an unusually 
revealing and at times brilliant report.^® The movement, of course, 
had many aspects. SeveraP® are illustrations of the general analysis 
that we have been putting forward; to some we shall later return. 


World,” in Sydney Nettleton Fisher, ed.. Social Forces in the Middle East, 
Ithaca, 1955, pp. 190-204; a chapter by the present writer, which he now recog- 
nizes as a little too optimistic historically but on its analytical side still valid. 

Report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under Punjab Act II of ips4 
to enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of rpyy, Lahore, 1954. This is 
popularly known as the Munir Report (after the Court’s president, Mr. 
Justice Muhammad Munir), and is so referred to in what follows. 

Such matters as some of the behaviour, or lack of behaviour, of leadership 
groups; the hypocritical exploitation of religious issues for political purposes 
(e.g., p. 259); etc., etc. Indeed, the whole report could serve as confirmatory 
documentation for much of the argument advanced in our present section. 
It and the Objectives Resolution (above, ref. 9) are the two basic documents 
for the history of Islam in Pakistan in its first decade. An understanding that 
can fully appreciate both is requisite, though it is difficult for both Muslims 
and outsiders. 


250 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

At present we would call attention to that aspect of the movement 
in which it appears as a great popular protest. Its organizers, for 
their own purposes, had been able slowly to crystallize around a 
carefully chosen issue, emblematic of Islam, the growing and 
powerful discontent of the populace over the general deteriora- 
tion of affairs in Pakistan after its early promise. The formal reli- 
gious issue manifestly symbolized for the people their deep dis- 
satisfaction. It had taken years of careful, plodding work on the 
part of the political party responsible, and considerable support 
from other circumstances and from authorities, to stir up the 
people around this particular symbol. The popular aspiration for 
a new and better social order had been cast in an Islamic form. 
Also cast in an Islamic form then was this expression of its dis- 
appointment. The movement gave vent to the bitter sense not 
merely that the aspiration was not being fulfilled, but that the 
leaders of the country were not even taking it seriously, were not 
trying to fulfil it. 

In the anti-Ahmadi agitation and its brutalities this feeling was 
given a particular form that was religiously inept, ethically shock- 
ing, and practically disastrous. We but call attention here to the 
fact that the feeling existed. The Panjab disturbances demon- 
strated the failure, and some of the serious consequences of the 
failure, to fit a valid substance to the Islamic form of socio- 
political aspiration. 

Another instance, at quite a different level, of the ramifications 
of the frailty of a national ideal, is the matter of provincial rights. 
This question, too, has been complex: clearly there could be no 
simple way to harmonize such formally disparate elements as East 
and West Pakistan. To hold these two in reasonably cheerful bal- 
ance must be a process in which political acumen, economic 
prospects, and many other factors would surely play their part. 
One consideration, however, cannot be neglected: that the essen- 
tial, and in fact only, point in the uniting of the two geo- 
graphical wings of Pakistan lies in their Muslimness. Apart from 
the debilitating negativism of some joint antipathy to India, if 
a meaning for their collaboration is to be found at all it must 
be an Islamic meaning. 

Certainly in the early years of the nation’s history the failure 
of the middle class to be inspired by some realistic vision of an 
Islamic state was sadly apparent also in this realm — some vision 


2^1 



PAKISTAN; ISLAMIC STATE 

of an Islamic state that East and West Pakistan might jointly 
become. It was illustrated in that class’s failure in those years not 
only to evolve a national programme in which the two wings 
could gladly participate, but even to persuade the less advanced 
province that by and large they were genuinely in pursuit of such 
a programme. 

There was, again, a failure to persuade themselves effectively 
that it was worth pursuing. Very few West Pakistanis, or Muslims 
from India, gave the impression of having the welfare of East 
Pakistanis genuinely at heart; of being motivated by an honest 
concern. 

Once again it was not men’s failure to arrive at their ideals 
that had political consequences, so much as the failure to form 
ideals that should seem to men worth striving for. 

A further and almost dire repercussion of the failure to formu- 
late a satisfactory ideal was important also chiefly in Bengal. It 
concerns the minorities. The Muslim leadership was instant in its 
protestations that an Islamic state did not mean oppression for 
non-Muslims, but on the contrary was an assurance of fair deal- 
ing. We shall advance arguments in our next section urging what 
we believe to be an essential validity and basic importance of this 
position. Moreover, the middle classes, with their Westernizing 
modernist education, to a significant extent believed, and their 
top leaders often believed deeply, in equality and fairness for 
minorities on humanist as well as, or rather than, on Islamic 
grounds. There was also, of course, the crucial question of ex- 
pediency: both internally and in international relations with both 
India and the rest of the world. The absence of any convincing 
presentation, and even of any precise conviction, as to what Paki- 
stan’s being Islamic really signified, meant that some fanatical 
Muslims, and a great many Elindus, were left to presume that it 
signified its being a nation in which non-Muslims were sorely out 
of place.^^ Since there were eleven million of them,^^ the problem 

A Hindu, in private conversation with the present writer: "The men 
at the top are fair-minded. But among the subordinate officers the outlook 
is narrow: such men think it patriotism to harass the Hindus.” A Muslim: 
“An Islamic state . . .: these damned Hindus have been put in their place.” 
(Dacca, March 1949). 

22 Caste Hindu, 4,349,000; Scheduled Caste Hindu, 5,421,000; Christian, 
541,000; Others, 366,000 {Cenus of Pakistan, i^^z: population according to 
religion [Table 6 ], Census Bulletin No. 3, Karachi, 1951, p. 1). From these 


2^2 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

was severe. Unless it were solved, the state could flounder on this 
one issue.^** 

The seeming inability of the modernizers to rise to the challenge 
of implementing Islam in twentieth-century history, did not mean 
that other sections in the community could offer a better lead. The 
^953 riots, as we have seen, showed that large groups felt so 
strongly that they could on occasion be dexterously persuaded to 
follow any lead at all. At least they could be persuaded once. The 
lead then given proved false, which resulted in many turning 
more cautious, if not more disillusioned. The Munir Report^" 
publicized further the fact that the ‘ulama,’ the traditional leaders 
of traditional Islam, were not only unfitted to run a modern state 
but were deplorably unable under cross-questioning even to give 
realistic guidance on elementary matters of Islam. The court of 
inquiry, and subsequently the world, was presented with the sorry 
spectacle of Muslim divines no two of whom agi'eed on the defini- 
tion of a Muslim, and who yet wei'e practically unanimous that 
all who disagreed should be put to death. 

Into the breach left by the ever more conspicuous failure of 
both modernizers and classicists to offer significant Islamic leader- 
ship, a new movement was developed, represented most impor- 
tantly by the Mawdudi group (Jama‘at-i Islami).“'' This is the 

figures, a total for non-Muslims may be computed as 10.677 million (14.1 
per cent of total population), in 1951. 

23 No authoritative study has come to our attention on the position of 
the non-Muslims in East Pakistan in general, or on such matters as the im- 
portant exodus across the border, acute at the present time (1956); nor have 
our own observations been systematic or close. That the question is serious, 
however, has been obvious to all concerned. The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. 
Nehru, was quoted as saying in Calcutta, January i6, 1957, that “nearly 
4,000,000 people had already come over to India from East Pakistan and 
more were coming” {Daily Indiagram, Ottawa, 17.1.57, reproducing despatch 
from New Delhi). For an able analysis of earlier trouble, on both sides of the 
frontier, see Richard D. Lambert, “Religion, Economics, and Violence in 
Bengal,” The Middle East Journal, Washington, 4:307-28 (1950). 

2 ‘iCf. just above, ref. 18. See especially pp. 200-32 of the Report, 

Ibid., esp. pp. 218-ig. 

28 One still awaits a careful, unpartisan study of Mawlana Sayyid Abu- 1 -A‘lil 
Mawdudi (1903- ) and his movement {Jamd'at-i Isldmt, 1941- ). Yet 

they constitute one of the most significant developments in contemporary 
Islam and one of the most significant forces in contemporary Pakistan. The 
literature produced by the movement itself is voluminous. It has been chiefly 
in Urdu, but translations into Arabic and English are appearing increasingly. 
The monthly journal Tarjumanu-l-Qur’dn has appeared under the Mawlana’s 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


counterpart in India and now Pakistan of the Ikhwan group 
among the Arabs; the two have recently come into tenuous mu- 
tual relation. There are, however, some important differences 
between them, both as to the environment in which they operate 
and as to ideas. 

The dynamics of Pakistan society — on some parts of which only 
we have been commenting — obviously provided elements essen- 
tial to understanding the movement. Further, such factors as we 
have noted in the Ikhwan case were also relevant here. Apart from 
these two matters, perhaps the most significant constituent of 
Mawdudi’s position has been the gradual and continual elabora- 
tion of an impressive system of ideas. Mawdudi would appear to 
be much the most systematic thinker of modern Islam; one might 
even wonder whether his chief contribution, in the realm of 
interpretation, has not been for good and ill his transforming of 
Islam into a system — or, perhaps more accurately, his giving ex- 
pression to a modern tendency so to transform it. 

A great many Muslims in Pakistan and beyond who may differ 
from Mawdudi even radically as to the content of his interpreta- 
tion, have come increasingly to premise that there is an Islamic 
system of economics, an Islamic political system, an Islamic con- 
stitution, and so on. It is true that in the second and third cen- 
turies hijri some of the moral imperatives of Islam were systema- 


editorship from 1932; first in Haydarabad, Dakkan, then 1938-47 Pathankot, 
and since 1947, Lahore. The leader has written in addition a great number of 
books and pamphlets, and many of his speeches have been published. Among 
his books, one may perhaps mention as illustrative of his religious ideas 
Tafhimdt (the edition available to us is the 4th, rev., Lahore, 1947); Risdlah‘-i 
Dlnlydt (gth ed., Pathankot, n.d.); Tafhtmu-l-Qur'dn, Pathankot and Lahore, 
1943- , in process (2 voll. have appeared so far). For his views on specifi- 

cally constitutional problems there is available an English translation of 
selected speeches and writings, under the editorship of Khurshid Ahmad: 
Syed Abul ‘Ala Maudoodi, Islamic Law and Constitution, Karachi, 1955. An 
English translation of the Risdlah is Abdul Ghani, trans., Towards Under- 
standing Islam, Lahore, 1940. By outsiders, one may note the quite critical 
study, Shaykh Muhammad Iqbal [pseudonym], Jamd'at-i Isldml par ek Nazar, 
Lahore, 1952; and two recent articles, Freeland Abbott, "The Jama‘at-i-Islami 
of Pakistan," The Middle East Journal, Washington, 11:37-51 (1957), and 
Khalid B. Sayeed, "The Jama’at-i-Islami Movement in Pakistan,” Pacific 
Affairs, New York, go: 59-68 (1957). 

Cf. above, chap. 3. pp. 156-60. On the continuing Jama'at in post- 
partition India, cf. below, chap. 6, p. 284. 

2J4 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

tized by the then religious leaders into the Law. There are mod- 
ern tendencies that would view even this system as dated, as inade- 
quate in scope and too rigid in form to represent faithfully those 
imperatives for today; and would seek the truth of Islam also in 
this area more in the realm of values and dynamic, of principles 
and spirit. Over against these, Mawdudi for the first time would 
rather extend still further the drive to reduce Islam to a positive 
system — further both in the degree of reduction and in the areas 
covered. He presents Islam as a system, one that long ago provided 
mankind with set answers to all its problems, rather than as a 
faith in which God provides mankind anew each morning the 
riches whereby it may answer them itself. 

Furthermore, to judge from his own expositions, it would ap- 
pear that he aims at imposing his system on Pakistan, if he can 
contrive to get his gTOup into a position of power, also in a rigor- 
ously systematic fashion. He evinces but scant concern both for the 
human beings and their individual welfare who would live under 
his rule, and with the human beings and their potential weak- 
nesses who might help him enforce it. His ideology seems to make 
little allowance either for the wishes and even the integrity of 
the ruled, or for the propensity, which men in positions of author- 
ity have all too often demonstrated through human history, to 
distort even the finest of schemes by individual aberration. 

The content of the particular system that he has been elabo- 
rating owes much, of course, to previous Islamic history, from 
whose flow he abstracts for his static pattern. It owes something, 
however, also to modern concepts and potentialities, so that he 
differs significantly from the unaccommodating traditionalists. 
Despite the consequent vitality, his movement is in this matter 
rather a compromise and adaptation than a creative vision. Its 
position has been neither modern enough to win many from the 
advanced sections of the bourgeoisie, nor familiar enough to 
.enthuse the masses. Its following has been chiefly confined to the 
lower middle classes, the urban discontents, and to idealistic 
youth. 

Nonetheless, one must not underestimate the force of what 
Mawdudi has to say. In a situation of extreme confusion his move- 
ment has propounded an intellectually coherent, almost massive 
case. In a situation of demoralization it has exhibited enthusiasm 


2J5 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

and an even sacrificial vigour in striving for such ideals as it 
professes. 

It was no small matter on the Pakistan scene that here was one 
group of men able to state vociferously what they believed, and 
able to summon the moral energy to pursue it. 

It was significant that such individuals within the top leadership 
of the nation as this movement was able even partially to influence 
were among the very few whose personal integrity and genuine 
patriotism were unquestioned. It was significant also that among 
university students and young graduates those attracted by this 
movement were among the few (outside the Communists) who 
were impelled to live out in practice the ideas to which intellec- 
tually they subscribed. 

This contrasted with the liberalism ostensibly characterizing 
the bourgeoisie. In the general survey of our introductory second 
chapter above we noted that whereas the liberals are strong, lib- 
eralism has been weak. Again the 1953 Panjab riots illustrated this 
tellingly. The religious condition of Pakistan was intimated per- 
haps not chiefly in the fact that the outburst occurred. Fanaticism 
is deplorable, but may not in itself be finally significant. No less 
revealing was the absence of religious reply. For seventy-five years 
a trend in Islamic interpretation, drawing on material proEered 
by such men as Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Amir ‘Ali, Yusuf ‘Ali, 
Iqbal,®® as well as by the Sufi tradition, had been increasingly 
applauded by the middle classes — a trend that would emphasize 
not the outward formalities but ‘the spirit of Islam.’®® Yet in a 
crisis it appeared®® that there was no major force in society to give 

It seems imperative to include Iqbal’s name on this list. Yet on the 
specific issue of the disturbances he himself had powerfully sided with and 
contributed to anti-Ahmadl antagonism. See the section “Islam and Qadian- 
ism,” in “Shamloo” [pseudonym], Speeches and Statements of Iqbal, Lahore, 
2nd ed., 19.18, pp. 91-144. This reproduces a series of press statements, corre- 
spondence, and articles originally published in 1935-36, which led to con- 
troversy at the time and attracted considerable attention. The chief article, 
“Islam and Ahmadism; with a reply to questions raised by Pandit Jawahar 
Lai Nehru,” was reprinted (e.g., by the Anjuraan-i IChuddamu-d-Din) a 
number of times in Lahore from 1936 on, both before Partition and after 
in full or extracts. 

2“ The phrase is the title (originally, the subtitle) of Amir ‘All’s widely 
read and widely appreciated book, that has appeared in a series of editions 
from 1891 to 1922, and is still being reprinted. Cf. above, chap. 2, ref. 41. 

3 “ For example; “In the meeting of citizens at the Government House on 
the afternoon of 5th March [1953] no leader, politician or citizen was willing 

2.^6 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


outspoken leadership to the conviction that Islam teaches not 
“loot, arson and murder”®^ nor even narrow formalism, but “de- 
mocracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice.”^ The 
apprehension of this latter truth was not sufficiently vivid to en- 
kindle those who professed it. 

The riots were finally put down in the name not of Islam but 
of governmental stability, and maybe common sense. Religiously 
they seemed to elicit no rejoinder, beyond discouragement. 

The Ideal 

We argued that Pakistan was an actual Islamic state when it was 
established in 1947, by virtue of the intention to make it an ideal 
Islamic state. We have contended further that in the course of 
its subsequent history many important aspects of the nation’s 
development have been seriously affected by (and have affected) 
the question of its moving or failing to move toward that goal. 
Yet we have delayed until now giving attention to the ideal itself. 
Our discussion in both cases has proceeded without a clarification 
of what, in fact, that final objective is whose pursuit, we have 
maintained, is of such far-ranging relevance. 

In this, we have followed the Pakistanis themselves. They, too, 
were swept up by the elation of the initial establishment, and 
swept along in the turbulence of the following years, without the 
benefit of such clarification. The basic force of the Islamic state 
idea did not depend on its being defined. 

However, again like the Pakistanis themselves, we must in the 


to incur the risk of becoming unpopular or marked by signing an appeal to 
the good sense of the citizen.” — Munir Report, p. 234. (One should note, 
however, the Jama'at’s rather unconvincing rejoinder; cf. next ref.) 

The phrase (sometimes, ‘‘loot, arson, and murders,” or with other slight 
variation) is used repeatedly in the Munir Report (e.g., pp. 158, 234). The 
Court was convinced also, as readers of its Report must be, that the dis- 
orders were “certainly anticipated by all who were associated with, and 
responsible for, the movement” (p. 241), including the chief religious or- 
ganizations of the country — the participants in the All Pakistan Muslim 
Parties Convention, Karachi, Jan. 16-18, 1953- (See, however, Mawdudi’s 
representations to the Court: Tahqlqatl ‘Adalat men . . . Baydn, Lahore, 
1954; and the Jama'at’s reply to the Report, Tahqiqdtl ‘Adalat kt Raporf par 
Tabsirah, Lahore, 1955.) 

32 The words are taken from the Preamble to the Constitution of 1956, 
echoing the Objectives Resolution of 1949- Both read: “. . . the principles of 
democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by 
Islam. . . .” 

237 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

end come to terms with the conception. In concluding our study, 
we turn to the question of the ideal. What does the phrase 
‘Islamic state’ in our second sense mean? What have Pakistani 
Muslims had in mind, or heart, when they have said, or felt, that 
Pakistan ought to be Islamic? 

Their own answers have been several and diverse, and in many 
cases obscure. There must be elucidation also of this very diver- 
gence, and of the obscurity. Any understanding of Pakistan must 
be defective that does not do justice to the Islamic state ideal. Any 
insight into that ideal must be defective that cannot comprehend 
the significance of each specific answer and discern as well the 
totality of aspiration, making room for the fact that Pakistanis 
have still to determine their interpretation. 

We are, therefore, brought back to the elementals; are brought 
face to face with the deepest issues here involved. As in our intro- 
ductory chapter, we must remind ourselves that Islam is first and 
foremost a religion. Secondly, we must recall what particular kind 
of religion it is. Only so can we appreciate the dimensions of the 
matter; and particularly, the transcendence. 

For the essential significance of the Islamic state ideal does not 
lie in the content of the concept. For various Pakistanis it has 
diverse content, and for some it would seem to have no specific 
content at all. Being religious, it transcends precise apprehension 
as well as transcending objective actuality. Man’s duty is to discern 
as well as to implement. His mind, too, must aspire. 

As a shrewd political leader put it: “Once in Cambay I saw a 
boy flying a kite on a misty day, so that the kite was invisible in 
the fog. I asked him what fun he was having, since he could not 
see his kite. He replied at once: ‘I cannot see it; but something 
is tugging.’ So it is with Pakistan and the Islamic state. They 
cannot see it. But very surely something is tugging; and they know 
it. No one has a clear conception; it will yet evolve.’’ 

Whether it will indeed evolve is perhaps still at issue; otherwise, 
the remarks are apposite. The Islamic state is the ideal to which 
Pakistan, it has been felt, should aspire. It is the aspiring that has 
been fundamental; not this or that pattern of the ideal. It is an 
ideal not in the immediate sense of a blueprint that Muslims have 
only to actualize, but an ideal in a much more ultimate sense. 
It is that to which final loyalty in this sphere should be given. 
Hence its relation to the divine; hence its ineffability. It is not 

2^8 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

a picture of what ought to be, but a criterion by which all pictures 
of what ought to be must be judged. In some cases it has been 
but the feeling that, however inaccessible, such a criterion exists. 
The meaning has been dynamic rather than static, moral rather 
than sociological; the mood imperative rather than indicative. For 
Muslims, so far as the social sphere is concerned, it is not a good 
but The Good. 

The demand that Pakistan should be an Islamic state has been 
a Muslim .way of saying that Pakistan should build for itself a 
good society. N ot merely an independent or a strong or a wealthy 
or a modern society; all these things, perhaps, but also a good 
society. 

Some opined that a good society is this, some that it is that. 
Others would hardly venture to say what it is, or would admit 
that they did not clearly know. Where they all agreed, perhaps with 
enthusiasm and even with commitment, was that it is worth pur- 
suing; and that their country’s fundamental significance rested 
upon the extent to which it so pursued. 

We might even thus complete our formal definition. An actual 
Islamic state is a state that its Muslim people are trying to make 
ideally Islamic. An ideal Islamic state is a state that its Muslims 
consider to be good. 

It is this transcendence of the concept that enables us to clarify 
our understanding, while leaving undetermined what in fact the 
Muslims, in this case in Pakistan, do consider good. To leave it 
so is essential. For one thing, it is a fact of observation that it 
is undetermined. They are still in process of resolving, through 
both discussion and experience, what they consider good. Secondly, 
it is essential to leave room for future development. Even if, 
mirabile dictu, all Pakistanis should solidly agree tomorrow, they 
would be free to revise their judgement the next day; as, like other 
religious communities, they have done in the past. 

We do not mean that a Muslim may fall prey to any whim, 
may choose arbitrarily his goal and call it “Islamic.” His conviction 
is that God determines what is good and what is evil;=® and that 

as This ultimately is what is meant by the much-discussed opening remark 
of the Objectives Resolution, 1949, retained as the opening remark of the 
1956 Constitution: "Sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God 
Almighty alone” (in the Constitution, “Allah Almighty”); or. more lucidly 
in the Urdu original, God is al-hdkim al-mutlaq, (Cf. the Prime Ministers 
remarks on this clause, in his speech moving the Objectives Resolution; see 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


man’s discernment of these has been illuminated by His disclo- 
sures, in prophetic revelation and specifically in the religion of 
Islam; as we saw in our opening chapter. Indeed, the acceptance 
of this channel of knowledge concerning good and evil is what 
makes him a Muslim; and this, in turn, is what makes it verbally 
legitimate for us to call “Islamic” not this or that state in par- 
ticular but in general the state that he deems good. 

Yet it is essential for us thus to preserve, even in a definition, 
the determinative role of the individual person in any application 
of Islam to history. It is essential to preserve also, along with this 
finite and varying factor, the transcendence of the fixed factor, 
the illimitability of what is given. 

One of the greatest, and gravest, of misapprehensions has been 
the belief that the religion of Islam — especially as an historical 
reality — somehow determines what a Muslim ought, and ought 
not, to do. This vitiates understanding, both for outside students 
and internally. It is the kind of fallacy that has at times threatened 
both the Islamic state idea and Pakistan itself. It is God, we repeat, 
who determines what is good and what is evil. For a Muslim, what 
the religion of Islam does is to elucidate this for him. Islam pur- 
ports to have brought a revelation, not a confabrication, of truth. 
And of eternal truth — transcendent, never wholly within the grasp 
of man. A “Muslim” is one who submits not to Islam but to God. 

The religion provided not merely an epistemology of goodness. 
It elucidated also its terrifying importance. It provided the moti- 
vation, as well as the axiology. The individual drive, the intense 
community cohesion, are no less significant elements for the 
Islamic state. 

Moreover, the elucidation of right and wrong, although utterly 
important, is itself partial. This is both metaphysically necessary 
(because of the transcendence of goodness), and historically ob- 
servable (for instance, in the variety of interpretation). Some 
Muslims have been arrogant or naive enough to believe that, 
sheerly by being Muslim, one has full access to a knowledge of 
what justice is, all tied up in a neat parcel. When challenged, 
however, as they were challenged by the circumstances of Paki- 


above, ref. 9.) For an analysis of the English translation as a revealing instance 
of the divergence between Islamic and Western thought-worlds, see W. C. 
Smith, Pakistan as an Islamic State, Lahore, "1951" (sc. 1954), pp. 78-79. 


2^0 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

Stan, Muslims’ disagreement among themselves and their hesita- 
tion before responsibility showed that it is given to man, whether 
Muslim or not, to discern moral truth, as well as to practice it, 
only in at best very partial measure. 

The crucial question that Pakistan faces, therefore, is not simply 
whether or not it is to be Islamic. The fundamental question of 
immediate consequence is rather, within the framework of Islam, 
what its actual (human) judgements are to be. 

The framework is given by history; it is relatively fixed by the 
fact that the great majority of Pakistan’s people are Muslims. 
Within the forms, the actual content of the judgement is an 
actively personal matter for the individuals and especially the 
leaders concerned. That Pakistan is Islamic is given; its interpre- 
tation of Islam is the responsibility of persons who are free. 

A believing Muslim is not free to interpret his faith any way 
that suits his, or his society’s, convenience. Rather, he is free, and 
is or ought to be impelled if his faith is genuine, to interpret it 
according to what he honestly believes God’s purpose to be in the 
twentieth century. 

To discern that purpose in this situation is not easy. 

Indeed the perplexity, the confusion, the strain and stress, even 
the failure, of Muslims in Pakistan Islamically are not simply a 
measure of their hypocrisy or of some religious absurdity. On the 
contrary, they are in part almost a measure of maturity; a sign 
that for these men the social aspects of religion are at last once 
again becoming real. As they have themselves stated, Islam is once 
again coming into history. For them, religion in its relation to 
social justice is no longer a dream, but is enmeshed with life. And 
life always, but especially today, is indeed a matter for perplexity 
and confusion, of strain and stress, even of failure. 

The final truth for man lies not in some remote and untarnished 
utopia, but in the tension and struggle of applying its ideals to 
the recalcitrant and obstructive stuff of worldly sorrow. 

With this perspective, we can see that much of the difficulty in 
the whole development, both in practice and in theory, has come 
from oversimplification, in some instances gross. A hurried and 
often irresponsible insistence that the ideal state could be readily 
equated with this or that has led to much disillusionment, and 
at times to near disaster. 

At the level of practice, oversimplifications neglected the pon- 


241 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

derous concrete difficulties. It is not simple to build a good society 
anywhere, Pakistan included, it being beset by stupendous prob- 
lems in the practical realms of economics, sociology, health, and 
much more. The objective situation in all its immense and baffling 
intractability must be kept in mind by the administrators, ines- 
capably; but also by such theorists and planners as might be valu- 
able rather than merely sentimental. In the early years, there came 
into evidence many examples of a naivete, fondly believing that 
Muslims by being Muslims were legatees of an inheritance that 
would of itself quickly transform the unhappy status quo into 
some radiant delight. It was easy to underestimate the practical 
enterprise that must stem from the fact that even valid ideals do 
not realize themselves. Even less maudlin expectations were in 
many instances prone to underestimate seriously the monumental 
practical issues of every sort with which the country was faced. 
Perception as to what is good could prove gratuitous, and even 
false, by being unrelated to the complex and restive circumstances 
that in fact obtained. 

At the level of theory, the tendency to oversimplify was no less 
strong. It was, as well, no less telling. Impatient, some were quick 
to insist that the good society had been designated by Islam once 
for all. Some even believed in their hurry that it could be, and 
even had been, reduced to so comparatively simple a matter as a 
formal constitution.®^ Others would identify it as a society where 
Islamic laws are in force.®® Still others would turn to the past, 
equating the Islamic State with the glorious period of Islam’s 
community achievement in its earliest days, perhaps particularly 
the first forty years of Islamic history.®" Some were ready to equate 
it emotionally, thoughtlessly, with their own particular ‘good old 

This conviction presently petered out, because the test of implementation 
was so accessible; yet for a time it was forceful. As one of those responsible 
for producing the constitution put it (in private conversation to us, Karachi, 
1949)- “1 was on a train and my fellow-traveller, when he discovered that I 
was in the Constituent Assembly, said that the country should have an 
Islamic constitution. I replied that I did not know what the term meant: 
what did he have in mind. This question surprised and stumped him.” Ag ain - 
“The people generally do not understand the difference between a constitu- 
tion and laws.” One youth spiritedly decried “this nonsense, that there is 
somewhere a hidden constitution that will solve all our problems and remedy 
our ills” (Karachi, 1949). Nonetheless there was persistent clamour for this 
solution, and books are still being written on the matter. 

Cf. below, p. 344, with ref. 38. Cf. below, pp. 245-46, with ref. 40. 


242 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

days’: that traditional local culture to which they had been accus- 
tomed before modernity came to disturb the familiar patterns. 
Some were ready to feel almost that it was simply a state in which 
no non-Muslims held political office or had good jobs. More seri- 
ously, in individual instances various writers advocated their own 
speculative systems of Islamic definition, And so on: many in- 
terpretations have been proffered. 

It matters radically in any society what in fact people do con- 
sider good. This, as much as the form in which their judgement 
was cast, was of day-to-day significance in Pakistan’s case. 

Yet it was in part the transcendence of the norm that kept any 
one of these interpretations from being widely or finally accepted. 
Because the ideal expressed the unformulated but deepest social 
aspiration of the individual Muslim, he was able and in some 
cases forced to reject any formulation, however cogently con- 
trived, that failed to do justice to that inner longing. Though he 
could not say himself just what he had in mind, yet he could 
realize that the particular programmes being proposed would not 
satisfy his desire. Some Muslims, of course, were persuaded by 
this or that interpretation. Some, whose zeal outran their imagina- 
tion, or religious commitment their moral perception, could be 
convinced that they ought to back this or that delineation, even 
though it was not in itself so winning as by its intrinsic allurement 
to attract their joyous support. In general, however, and particu- 
larly among the educated group whose social horizons were wide, 
the instinct that the Islamic state is a good state in the fullest, final 
sense of the term meant that no one of the specific and sometimes 
petty proposals put forward could command their allegiance, or 
even their assent.”'' The absence of any adequate positive ideology 

37 One of the difficulties in Pakistan arose from the fact that the West- 
ernizing leadership was not quite sure in its own mind at all times but that 
the reactionary Muslims' interpretation of Islam might not be the right one 
after all. It did not think so, but lacked a positive conviction that would 
allow it to be confident. The most spectacular example was the Prime Minister 
Nazimu-d-Din who in the crisis of the Disturbances in early 1953 was for 
long unable to bring himself to deny the ‘ulamff. “He must have felt a 
troublesome conflict between his own religious convictions and the implica- 
tions resulting from the acceptance of the demands” {Munir Report, p. 234: 
on this point, cf. further ibid., pp. 2S3-35> *95-30“)- At the meeting 

of the Central Cabinet Feb. a6, 1953, "no decision could be taken (p. 145); 
finally at about two o’clock the following morning another Cabinet meeting 
was called in the face of the threat of mob action; the demands of the 'ulama 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


was accompanied by an unhappy pervasive awareness that the 
specific interpretations being canvassed fell woefully short of an 
unformulated but important standard. 

On careful inquiry it would even emerge that the quality of 
transcendence often persisted even in those interpretations that 
seemed to give, or were designed to give, a positive definition to 
the idea. For example, in the assertion that an Islamic state is a 
state with Islamic laws, it presently became apparent that these 
too were in part an undefined ideal. There was no precision as to 
just what those Islamic laws are, or ought to be. They do not, in 
an agreed form for enactment today, tangibly exist. In part they 
too are something to which, through the constructive diligence of 
its citizens, Pakistan ought to aspire. They are conceived as consti- 
tuting in some degree the counterpart of the Western concept 
not of “law” so much as of “justice.”®* 


were finally rejected and the leaders arrested. Only the most extreme situa- 
tion could bring the Prime Minister to realhe that the 'ulamd’ were wrong. 
He perhaps even then did not fully realize that this meant that tlrey were 
morally wrong, Islamically wrong. 

** The Greeks set forth the view that Justice is transcendent; human ideas 
of justice are fallible but cogent approximations. This is the conception by 
which die Western world operates. The Hindus hold a similar position about 
God. Christians affirm that God is known, because (in Christ) He has revealed 
Himself. Muslims affirm that Justice is known, because (in the Qur’an) He 
has revealed it. Neither Christians nor Muslims in theory deny transcendence, 
though clinging to revelation; yet Hindus and Western jurists find them 
narrow and inflexible. However, within the Muslim view, as evinced in 
Pakistan, there has been considerable difference of opinion as to what the 
sharVah essentially is. 

To some, the question seemed fairly simple. The Law, they felt, can be 
pointed to: it exists, in the books. The Laws of Islam, in their view, have 
been worked out by the jurists over the centuries and have been embodied 
in the legal tomes. Pakistan, they advocated, had only to enact this accumu- 
lated corpus into legislation. Of these, some were more, some less, ready to 
concede that an adaptation to the evolution of modern conditions would be 
required. It should be noted, however, that in any case many of these persons 
not only were unfamiliar in any disciplined way with modern conditions, 
but also did not in fact know what was in these law books. Indeed, this 
group included very few of the ’ulamd’ on the one hand, and very few of the 
governmental administration on the other. It seems to have been the position 
of not many serious and responsible thinkers. 

The tangible law codes as extant have in fact ramified and developed 
over the ages. In view of this fact, some would close at one or other particular 
historical point the evolution of objective law that they would accept as 
authoritative. Some, rejecting all later growth, would feel that the funda- 
mentals of the Law were worked out once and for all in the early golden 


244 




PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


Similarly with the model from history. The period of the 
Khilafat al-Rashidah, the first decades of Islamic history, which 
was often put forward as an ideal age, not merely was advanced 
in highly idealized form, in a picture embodying the legendary 
embellishments of the subsequent pious tradition, and still today 
receiving favours from devout imagination. Apart from this it 
appears on analysis that in fact what was in mind was not the 


age of Islam. They would then regard it as the task of Pakistan to apply 
these fundamentals to twentieth-century circumstances — admitting, in many 
cases, that to do so would be a task of imposing proportions, demanding 
men of the highest calibre of knowledge, acumen, judgement, and devotion. 

Others would see the sharVah not as a static system but as a dynamic 
development, a process of which the historical stages in the past are available 
for study and guidance, but of which the proper present and future develop- 
ments are matters of creative extrapolation. This interpretation would accept 
continuity and revision. 

The classical ‘ulama’, as we saw in the case of Egypt (above, chap. 3, 
pp. i24ff., esp. p. 128 at ref. 61), at their best view the sharVah as a 
transcendent norm, to which the extant version is a human approximation. 
A modernizing, more historically-minded counterpart of this position is the 
view that the classical law was the practical expression for its own time and 
place of that norm, for which in the new time and place of Pakistan a new 
expression is needed. Here again a creative task of considerable magnitude 
is involved. 

The conception of sharVah held by some has severed all connection with 
a past working-out of the law by Muslims, cleaving only to the Qur’an, or 
even to the principles of the Qur’an. A senior member of the administration, 
with an Oxford degree, remarked: "Certainly the law of Pakistan must be 
the sharVah. Otherwise there was no point in having Pakistan.” He elaborated 
this insistence with vigour and precision, and convincing sincerity. Yet on 
questioning, he stated that "the sharVah is the laws of the Qur’an”; asked if 
it did not include also the sunnah, stumbled “Well . . . anyway . . . well, that 
has to do with the Prophet. ... In any case, the Qur’an is the important 
thing. ...” 

Except the first position that we have noted — which is content to take 
Islamic law for present application as already extant in detail — these interpre- 
tations evince the consensus that Islamic law has motility. ("Every thinking 
Musalman agrees now with Iqbal that fiqh is flexible. It is a process.” “There 
is more talk of revising the law than there used to be.” "Fiqh has changed, 
must change, and will change.”) 

Further, these interpretations recognize that a great creative effort would 
be needed on the part of Pakistan, or contemporary Muslims generally, in 
order to produce a version of the law for the modern world. One might 
emphasize each one of the words “great,” “creative,” and “effort.” 

See further the analysis in Smitli, op. cit., 1954, pp. 53-58. Note also that 
the 1956 Constitution (clause 198, para. 3) requires a Commission to go into 
the matter of saying what the sharVah (carefully phrased as “the Injunctions 
of Islam”) is and ought to be; it allows five years for this task. 

245 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


actuality of that age even as romantically conceived, but again a 
transcendent ideal, with that historical period as the most ade- 
quate and truest expression that that ideal has yet found for itself. 
It is not merely impossible, indeed meaningless, to reproduce in 
one age the activities or constructions®® of another: manifestly 
Pakistan cannot relive a segment of the history of Arabia. Further, 
that period, even when transformed into the most roseate of its 
versions, was not ideal: it is well known, for instance, that three 
of its four successive heads of State (the Khulafa’ al-rashidun) were 
done violently to death, and their regimes were disrupted by civil 
war, which brought the period to an end within thirty years of the 
Prophet’s death.*® 

The Islamic state ideal, then, we would argue, cannot be under- 
stood except as an ultimate religious norm. Yet neither is it, as 
such, to be underestimated. 

Pakistani Muslims are not alone in finding it difficult to say, 
in terms of the developing social process, just what it is to which 
final commitment is due. Neither are they alone, among men of 
sensitivity and perception, in being firmly persuaded that that 
social process has meaning; and that within and beyond it a final 
commitment is necessary and valid. Like other peoples, they may 
disagree amongst themselves as to the objective, and may individ- 
ually in some cases falter or be confused. Yet what characterized 
the Islamic state idea was the degree to which those who held it 
were agreed, over against world-denying mystics on the one hand, 
and over against materialists and cynics on the other, that within 
historical development something is good, and must be pursued. 
For a Pakistani Muslim, to abandon the Islamic state idea is to 
abandon not merely the pursuit of justice, but the conviction that 
there is a justice to pursue. 

The tragedy of the failure to find adequate content for the ideal 
has lain in part in the vast disenchantment with the whole social 
enterprise in the country. Many in coming gradually to the per- 

Even if from the early history one abstracts certain aspects, such as the 
institutions that it set up, yet these — even as forms disengaged from their 
actual embodiments — could be applied to twentieth-century conditions, it is 
clear, only with assiduously elaborate modification. On this matter, cf. the 
discussion on ‘renascence’ and ‘reformation’; chap. 4, pp. 170-71 above. 

For a fuller analysis supporting the view that the concept of the Khildfat 
al-Rdshidah has in fact been a concept of transcendence in Pakistanis’ minds, 
cf. Smith, op. cit., 1954, pp. 58-63. 


246 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


suasion that Pakistan cannot after all be an Islamic state have in 
fact been coming to the desperate conclusion that their new nation 
is not worth while. 

Some of the actual illustrations that Muslims in Pakistan have 
given as to what in fact they have considered good, have turned 
out discouraging to themselves or to their neighbours. There is 
one positive judgement, however, that calls for careful attention. 
In the Constitution of 1956, an interpretation of Islam that had 
been lately put forward by some was given formal and concrete 
approval: namely, that it is democratic. This became tlie first, and 
so far the only, official decision as to the nature of the Islamic 
state, adopted and implemented by the Constituent Assembly. 
At least in the case of Pakistan, it was affirmed, the Islamic State 
is to be an Islamic Republic.^’- 

It is too early yet to say whether this will be maintained, either 
in imactice or in theory. To maintain it ivill not be easy. Yet the 
question of whether it is maintained is at both levels immensely 
significant. Theory and practice must to some degree go hand in 
hand; a people cannot sustain a democracy unless they believe that 
democracy is good. For democracy too is a dynamic concept, a 
process. To say that a society is democratic at a given instant is to 
say something about a form of government; but to say that it is 
democratic for any period of time is to say something also about 
the motivation and loyalty and ideals and quality of its citizens. 

One can assert with assurance that democracy in Pakistan, like 
democracy elsewhere, will be imperfect. Whether it will prove so 
imperfect as to break down altogether is a question that Pakistanis 
must constantly face — democracy is like that. Whether or not it 
will break down is a question of very great significance. Tliat this 
is so religiously is perhaps not quite so obvious, but is profoundly 
true. By enacting a republican constitution, the Pakistanis have 
not only made democracy a part of their actual Islamic state, 
rendering democratic their mundane history; they have also made 
democracy a part of their ideal Islamic state, have formally chosen 
to integrate it into their religio-social ideal. 

The importance of both these facts would be difficult to 
exaggerate, as developments within the history of Islam. It is 

'll Clause 1, para. (1), of the 1956 Constitution: “Pakistan shall he a Federal 
Republic to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” 

HI 


PAKISTAN; ISLAMIC STATE 

momentous enough that here many tens of millions of persons 
have come into at least formal power, to take responsibility for 
their own collective development on earth, however fragmentary 
may be the reality of this in its incipient stages. With this, and 
such comparable and fairly simultaneous instances as in Turkey 
and Indonesia, Islamic history in our day embarks on a new era. 
For the first time^^ it is taking on a democratic form, with all the 
immense potentialities inherent therein. 

At the theoretical level also, new vistas are opened up for Islam 
as a dynamic system of ideals, a moral and religious ideology. For 
one thing, democracy if it survives must seriously affect the range 
of possibilities within which any effective interpretation of ‘Islamic 
state’ must hereafter in Pakistan be formulated. It must mean 
some kind of state that will appeal to Muslims as a whole,'^® peas- 
ants and Westernizers, trade unionists and scientists; and will in- 
volve them as a whole in its ongoing operation. The will that the 
state become Islamic, it has been affirmed, can be and must be 
implemented by a democratic process. Both these are very im- 
portant religious affirmations. Not only has final political authority 
been accorded to the people. The Constitution represents a deci- 
sion to transfer to them, not to the ‘ulama’ or other religiously 
privileged class, the responsibility, if not for making the authori- 
tative interpretation of Islam, at least for choosing which interpre- 
tation shall become authoritative. 

(This is what Pakistanis had in mind when they vigorously pro- 
claimed that an Islamic state is not a theocracy.)^’‘ 

Some Muslims would say. “For the second time” — claiming that the 
Khilafat al-Rdshidah was also democratic. 

And appeal even and at the same time to a substantial number of non- 
Muslims. In Pakistan these could be in theory out-voted (the Muslim demand 
for separate electorates is in part an attempt to outvote them). Yet in practice 
their influence in any election cannot be ignored. 

^^The irritation over any suggestion that an 'Islamic state’ is a theocracy 
betrays a misapprehension of the latter term. It was coined by Josephus, after 
adumbrations by Philo, both Greek-speaking Jews of the first century A.D., 
when the mutual impact of the Hellenic philosophic tradition and the Semitic 
Near East’s religious tradition was proving radiantly creative. These writers 
were endeavouring to express in terms meaningful within the classical frame- 
work, the Jewish concept of their own government under the divinely re- 
vealed Mosaic Law. The parallel with the Islamic sharVah concept is not 
far-fetched. See Flavius Josephus, Contra Apion, II.16, and Philo Judaeus, 
De Somniis, II. 43,290, Cf. also H. A. Wolfson, Philo, Cambridge, Mass., 1947, 
vol. 2, chap, xiii, “Political Theory,” esp. p. 382. The concept “rule by 

248 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

Yet the matter goes deeper. The people may, it is true, be per- 
suaded or inveigled to surrender their right: they may vote (or 
allow) into office an oligarchy or dictatorship. They are free to 
destroy their republic. They may equally — though not so easily — 
abandon its Islamic quality; we shall return to this. In the mean- 
time, however, the Constitution implies the intention to maintain 
as well as to establish an Islamic Republic. This means that 
ongoing democracy becomes an aspect of the state’s ultimate 
Islamic quality; it becomes a part of the final definition of an 
Islamic state. 

Some Muslims would aver that there is nothing new in the 
inclusion of democracy as a social ideal of the Islamic religion. 
Others would recognize that Islam has long inculcated social and 
legal and other types of egalitarianism, but is now for the first time 
in a practical manner incorporating political democracy. The 
point is not consequential. Whether one believes the political- 
democracy ideal to have been all along inherent in Islam though 
only now becoming explicit and generally accepted; or whether 
one views it as a new application of Islam to modern and novel 
conditions, in any case the profound and significant fact is that 
here for the first time on a considerable scale in history, Muslims’ 
actual conception of that community life to which they under- 
stand God, through Islam, to be calling them is stated to include 
parliamentary republicanism. 

The matter works also in the reverse direction. We have said 
that to maintain democracy in Pakistan will not be easy. If a 
democracy breaks down, this indicates in part that the community 
does not adequately believe in democracy, does not rise to the 
demands that it implies. A breakdown of democracy in Pakistan 
would indicate inter alia a failure of these Muslims adequately to 
have faith in it, which in turn would mean in part a failure effec- 
tively to incorporate it in the Islam that is their living faith. In an 
Islamic Republic, Islam either does or does not provide the morale 
to keep that republic going. 

How this will develop in Pakistan remains to be seen. For the 
moment, democracy is one thing that Pakistani Muslims have 

ecclesiastics” or “. . . by priests,” connoted for Pakistanis by the word 
theocracy, is correctly denoted by the little-used term hierocracy. 

249 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


formally considered to be good; that is, Islamic. We turn briefly 
to the important question of non-Muslim minorities.'^'' 

Some of the non-Muslims have especially objected, and some 
have had compelling practical reasons to object, to the Islamic 
state concept. Formally, the 1956 Constitution lays down justicia- 
ble Fundamental Rights for all citizens, and also makes special 
provision lest these be abrogated by specihcally ‘Islamic’ laws.'*" 
On the whole, the tenor of the constitution is definitely totvards 
equality. One must not underestimate such legal safeguards. 
Informally, on the other hand, the actual day-to-day behaviour of 
the majority community, and particularly the actual interpreta- 
tion of ‘Islamic state’ by many individuals, have often served to 
undermine minority confidence." In a democracy, the requisite 
treatment of a minority is not merely a defined justice but what 
that minority will freely regard as justice. The challenge to the 
Muslims on this score was a real one. It has not yet become at all 
clear whether they can meet it. 

In the final analysis, the rights and treatment accorded any 
minority or non-powerful group in any state depend on the ideal 
of those in power. In a Marxist state, such as the Soviet Union, 
the rulers recognize, they claim, no ideals; opposition groups 
accordingly have, in theory and practice, no rights. It is official 
Marxist doctrine that a person as such, “man in general, does 

’‘f’ The question of Muslim minorities is also important: of dissident groups 
within the Islamic community who wish to differ, or believe that they ought 
to, or that true Islam demands that one differ, from the majority view at a 
given moment. We cannot go into the religious aspects of this crucial prob- 
lem. The political aspects were raised vividly enough by the Ahmadi issue. 

'‘I' Clause 198, esp. para. (4). 

'*7 Cf. above at reif. si, 23. More formally: “The Indian High Commis- 
sioner in Pakistan, Mr. C. C. Desai, said that insecurity in villages, denial 
of equal opportunities of employment, discrimination in the grants of gratui- 
tous relief and fishing licences and non-redress of grievances when aggrieved 
members of the minority community approached subordinate officials were 
among the many causes of migration [of Hindus from East Pakistan to India]. 
T-Ie had also heard complaints of seizure of crops and encroachment on lands 
by members of the majority community and of propaganda by fanatical 
people taking advantage of those provisions of the Constitution, which de- 
clared Pakistan an Islamic Republic.” — quoted in Notes on Islam, Calcutta, 

9:42 (1956)- 

Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848, derides the ‘emasculating’ con- 
cept of “human nature, . . . man in general, who belongs to no class, has no 
reality, who exists only in the misty realm of philosophical phantasy” (Au- 
thorized Indian Edition, People’s Publishing House, Bombay, 1944. p. 52). 
Slowly men are beginning to discern again the importance of ideals, and 


2^0 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

not exist; that a person exists only as a raember of a social class. 
An individual condemned as being “an enemy of the working 
class” is regarded, then, in the U.S.S.R. as having literally no rights 
whatever, and is treated accordingly. Even in a democracy, the 
form takes its value from the ideal. Unless the majority are actively 
loyal to the transcendent principles of democracy, recognizing the 
ideal validity of every man’s status as a man, then the arithmetic 
minority has, through the democratic form, no rights at all. Only 
in so far as the ideal, whether of Islamic state or otherwise, held 
by Pakistani Muslims includes or comes to include the notion of 
treating non-Muslims well — ^with justice, equality, or the like — 
only so far have those non-Muslims any locus standi. On a purely 
arithmetic basis, they would, as an outvoted and overpowerable 
minority, have no status at all. 

Let us take a particular case, to illustrate. It was reported from 
a particular village, whose population since the Partition com- 
prised a predominance of Muslims, that the Christians were re- 
fused use of the only village well. To introduce formal democratic 
procedures into that village would do nothing to improve the 
situation, since if the matter were put to a vote the decision 
would obviously confirm and give formal and even legal authority 
to an injustice. The hope for the weak group in this community 
is to appeal not to democratic forms, but to the laws, and finally 
the conscience, of the majority. The latter must be shown that, by 
their action, they are being bad Muslims; are running counter to 
the transcendent concept of an Islamic state. 

We use this to illustrate in miniature the complexity of the 
entire Pakistan problem. Here too the issue has essentially been, 
what do the Muslims in fact consider good, and how effectively 
do they pursue it? This is the decisive question, in the village and 
in the country, as in all villages and in all countries. 

We return, then, to our contention that this, rather than the 
formal matter of whether the state is to be Islamic or not, is 
Pakistan’s central question. 

to realize that it is better to have ideals, even when not lived up to, than to 
repudiate them outright. ("The rise of Hitler made us realize that even our 
English hypocrisy is of some value,” it has been said in Britain.) It is im- 
portant that practice be good. It is also important that, when practice lapses, 
good transcendent ideals be acknowledged, so that there is something to which 
one can appeal, 

257 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

Somewhat similar considerations apply to the second great 
challenge to the Islamic state idea, secularism. When Pakistan was 
first established, only a very small minority of Muslims advocated 
that the state should he secular rather than Islamic. Over the 
years that minority has grown amongst the educated classes, chiefly 
because an increasing number have been sorely disillusioned and 
even repelled as they saw the lethargy, the fatuity, the hypocrisy, 
the disruption that widely prevailed; saw the enormous com- 
plexity and brute difficulty of the problems that remained un- 
solved; and saw the discouraging manifestations of what in the 
name of Islam the people in often dismal fact did consider good. 

Until the time of writing, however, this sentiment toward 
secularism had remained inert. It was not a movement, for it 
lacked leaders, it lacked constructive convictions, it lacked ideals. 
It did not come to grips with the fact that the same people, pre- 
sumably, would run Pakistan as a secular state who were running 
it now as an Islamic one. It proffered no evidence that these would 
respond more smartly to a secularist ideal than to an Islamic. 
Indeed there was no evidence of the ideal, of either an intellectual 
or moral programme in clear-cut terms to which to appeal. It was 
not merely that the leadership, if democracy were to be retained, 
would have to persuade the mass of the people that the new goals 
were good. Even if it jettisoned democracy, it would still have to 
persuade itself.'‘® One cannot effect a revolution without an 
ideology. 

To make headway secularism would not only need to be pro- 
vided with both drive and content, with people actively believing 
it to be a good thing. It would still have to deal with the question 
of Islamic interpretation. As the Turks have seen, secularism im- 
plies a recognition by the religious institution that some spheres 
of life are outside organized religion’s direct province. For the 
secularist the dilemma is not only that Pakistanis do not have a 
set of religious ideas by which they can run their nation. They 
also do not have a set of religious ideas that would approve of their 
running it on some other basis. 

Cf. ref. 37 above. The leadership of Pakistan includes many Muslims 
who are hypocritical, and many more who are in two minds about Islam and 
secularism. But it includes perhaps fairly few who are single-mindedly in 
favour of a secular regime. Whether an Ataturk may appear involves the 
further question of whether he would find also a sufficient coterie of 
lieutenants. 


252 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


It would not be too absurd, perhaps, to phrase this point by 
saying that Pakistan will flourish as a secular state only if its Mus- 
lims are able to persuade themselves (to perceive?) that the truly 
Islamic state is a secular one.®® At least this could be urged: that 
to set forth on the great enterprise of building a successful secular 
society, also, Pakistanis must first settle in their own minds what 
they believe. 

For progress in this as in any direction, there is need for coordi- 
nation of the good that they see with the Islam that they accept. 

It would be a rather seismic development if any major group 
recognized something in society as good but un-Islamic, or as 
Islamic but not good. For most, the matter is more englobing. 
A Muslim’s apprehension of goodness, as is true for everyman’s, 
is coloured by his environment and his experience, the pressures 
and complexities and limitations of his particular time and place, 
and by his own capacities, his moral acumen, and the sensitivity 
and courage of his spirit. Yet it is coloured also by the fact that he 
is a Muslim. Fle believes that these all are to be integrated. 

His interpretation of Islam then, as we have argued, is crucial 
for Pakistan. This has, precisely, become the crucial intellectual 
and spiritual question of the Muslim world. Pakistan Muslims 
would widely agree that the truth about goodness is to be known 

50 The idea is not, perhaps, as ridiculous as it sounds. In a sense this was 
the thesis of ‘All ‘Abd al-Raziq, al-Isldm wa Usui al-Hukm, Cairo, 1925, which 
produced such a furore. (English and Urdu translations are to be brought 
out presently in Pakistan.) One may compare also, perhaps, the thinking 
of Ziya Gokalp. (On ‘Abd al-Raziq, cf. Charles C. Adams, Islam and Modern- 
ism in Egypt, London, 1933, esp. pp. v, 259-68; on Gokalp, cf. above, chap. 2, 
ref. 30.) There is a not too subtle sense in which the proper Christian state 
(or at least, Protestant Christian) is a secular state. It is not that a secular 
state is thought to embody, even imperfectly, what a Christian ideally ap- 
proves, It is rather that the Christian, qua Christian, believes that a state 
ought to be secular. Important leaders and thinkers of the Christian Church 
(especially at the Reformation) have devoted energy and brains to working 
out a statement of the Christian faith in which the idea of a secular state fits, 
or at least with which it is compatible. They have worked out and built reli- 
gious institutions (such as the Church) that can function religiously in a 
secular society. And Christian believers have accepted these things. Christians 
have the kind of religious beliefs and customs and organizations that allow 
them to live in a secular state without ceasing to be devout Christians, and 
without ceasing to be loyal and effective citizens. (Not always without con- 
flict: the issue is still live.) Muslims in Turkey are engaged on a comparable 
problem (cf. above, chap. 4); Muslims in India bode fair to be (cf. below, 
chap. 6). 


^53 



PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 


through Islam; but they may and do disagree as to how, even 
within the bounds of Islam, it is to be ascertained. One finds it 
through the Qur’an; one through the Qur’an and the sunnalv, one 
in the early history of the Khilafat al-Rashidah; one in the tvhole 
unfinished history of the Islamic community; some in effect find 
their interpretation of Islam in Iqbal or Mawdudi. And so on and 
on. And undercutting all of these is for some the restless semi- 
awareness that the real truth of Islam lies not in the past but in 
the future. 

Perhaps we should say, not on earth but in heaven. 

At every turn, Pakistanis are harassed or coaxed by the interplay 
of a myriad of forces, hostile, fortuitous, or fortunate, from the 
Kashmir question to dollar holdings; from outside pressures to 
inner dishonesty; threatening to disrupt or interrupt or divert, to 
elaborate or circumscribe. In history there is no final result. The 
series of interim results must be a series of intertwinings of the 
multifarious circumstances that face ithem and of the human, 
moral, intellectual, and other resources that they are able to bring 
to bear. 

The Pakistan of any moment is necessarily the child of that 
moment: it is one segment in the cross-section of world develop- 
ment at that point. Pakistanis must take their place in the phalanx 
of modern humanity. And one of their problems is to learn to 
communicate and to live in harmony with those of their con- 
temporaries across the world who are not Muslims; and vice versa. 
Yet in addition to this transverse relationship there is the onward 
movement of their own more individual dynamic: their particu- 
lar development, from out their special past and towards their 
own objectives. It is this latter relationship, between a past and a 
potential future, that constitutes them as Muslims and gives mean- 
ing to the Islamic aspect of their state. To be Islamic means, for 
Pakistan, to take its place within the moving stream of Islamic 
history, coming out of a distinctive past that is given and is 
accepted, and looking sub specie aeternitatis toward a future that 
has yet to be created. It is this stream of continuity that may serve, 
if anything will, to reintegrate the two senses of “Islamic state’’ 
that we have discriminated, the actual and the ideal: out of the 
past and towards a transcendent future. 

Pakistan lives, of course, always in the present, and must deal 
with present problems. For these purposes and in these dealings it 

254 


PAKISTAN: ISLAMIC STATE 

is a modern state. Yet in so far as, while doing so, it also keeps 
in conscious and deliberate touch with its Islamic past and de- 
velops it by consciously reaching out towards a better Islamic 
future, it is in addition an Islamic state. 

Not that this outreach is only temporal. Pakistanis can appreci- 
ate their heritage, and can strive towards a better future, because 
or in so far as they are already, as religious men, in touch with 
and reaching out towards a good that is real now, though not 
mundanely. The transcendent surpasses, but does not exclude, 
actuality. 

If they do not reach out at all, in some significant aspiration, 
the prospect is bleak. 

Living in the mundane present is itself no mean task. As we 
have insisted, Pakistanis may not for a moment neglect the matter 
of making their nation viable. Yet for them, as for all men, living 
wholly within the mundane present is self-defeating. It is un- 
worthy of human dignity, and disruptive of human history. They 
are faced, as are the rest of us in the parlous world of the latter 
twentieth century, with the massive problems of living at all. At 
the same time they are faced, as have been all communities since 
the dawn of history, with the further question of living well. 

It has been a matter of anguish. Yet perhaps the greater tragedy 
would be to give up trying. 


^55 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 


The Indo-Muslim Community 

The partition of India in 1947 involved the partitioning also 
of its Muslim community. 

This fact shocked that community. The Indian Muslims had 
brought Pakistan into being on the grounds that their community 
was a unit. The Muslim League’s suddenly advocated platform of 
a separate state was a corollary of its prior and more fundamental 
thesis: that the Muslims of the then India must stand united. 
With a burning intensity it proclaimed that they were a nation. 
They certainly succeeded in making themselves feel that they 
were a nation. Yet the very success of the League policy led to the 
fact that they are now two nations.’- 

The Muslims of what used to be India are today two nations not 
only in the sense that a political frontier now separates the 
groups — a bristling frontier across which traffic, whether of per- 
sons or of news, of trade or of understanding, has been at best 
difficult and at times blocked. They are two nations also in a more 
basic sense: they face radically different problems, and pursue not 
only distinct but even conflicting policy. The apparent interests 
of the one may seem or prove disastrous for the other. Their 
temporal interests, though ultimately doubtless compatible and 
even complementary, are far from identical. And even their 
spiritual interests and concerns differ. Their historical develop- 
ment may stridently clash. Their Islamic development may sig- 
nificantly diverge. The two groups now have distinct destinies, 
and each must be considered on its own merits as leading a self- 
motivating and self-responsible existence. 

The Muslims of the sub-continent numbered in the 1941 census 
94.4 million^ and in 1951, approximately 104 million.^ Of this 

1 Some Indian Muslims -would even assert that they are now three nations: 
Indian Muslims, and within Pakistan those of each wing, each of these three 
being destined to play a distinct role. 

2 Census of India: 1^41, Delhi, 1943. 

"This figure has been arrived at as follows: for Pakistan, 64.96 million 
(Census of Pakistan, ig^i: population according to religion (Table 6), Census 
Bulletin No. 2, p. 1); for India, 35.40 million (Times of India Directory and 

2^6 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

total, some 3.3 per cent are Kashmiri* and therefore problematic. 
Slightly over half, to be precise 56.3 per cent,® were already resi- 
dent in the area that became Pakistan. Another 6 per cent or so” 
migrated thither at the time of the partition cataclysm (mostly, 
the Muslims of the East Panjab; plus a much smaller but sizable 
group from West Bengal; plus also, from the rest of India, scat- 
tered individuals chiefly of the middle classes). About one-half 
per cent died in the violent upheaval.'^ Over one third, some 35 
million or more,® emerged as residents of the new independent 
India. 

Whether some or all of the Kashmiri Muslims are eventually to 
be included along with these, raising the percentage to nearly 40 
and the numbers (1956 estimate) to well over 40 millions, remains 
to be seen. In either case, these Indo-Muslims are the group whom 
we must study in this chapter. Our first point, then, is that they 
constitute a new and distinct entity. 

The identity of this new grouping has both negative and posi- 
tive aspects. Many members of the community itself have been 
more conscious of what they are not than of what they are. Some 
would virtually define their group, certainly so far as their own 
attitudes and feelings are concerned, negatively; as that section of 
the erstwhile Indo-Muslim community that was not included in 


Year Book, ip55-5^> Bombay, etc., n.d. [sc. 1955], pp. g-io); for Kashmir, 3.40 
million (an estimate formed by calculating 77 per cent [the 1941 percentage 
was 77.11; W. Norman Brown, The United States and India and Pakistan, 
Cambridge, Mass., 1953, p. 159] of 4.41 million [Times of India estimate of 
total population for 1951, p. 7]). 

^For 1941, the figure is 3.101 (Brown, loc. cit.) out of 94.389 millions, or 
3.27 per cent. For 1951, the figure is 3.40 out of 103.8 millions, which gives 
the same percentage. 

6 This figure has been reached by taking 53.1 out of 94.389 millions. The 
figure 53.1 million for the 1941 population of the area that became Pakistan 
in 1947 has been derived by subtracting 2.8 million for Kashmir and 0.5 
million for Gurdaspur from the 56.4 million that constituted the 76 Muslim- 
majority districts in 1941 (Kingsley Davis, The Population of India and 
Pakistan, Princeton, 1951, p. 196. This author gives 53.8 million, and 57 per 
cent as figures for Muslims in tlie Pakistan areas as of 1941; slight differ- 
ence would seem to concern Gurdaspur, which he does not mention). 

8 Exact figures are not known; this figure represents an estimate of about 
6 million (cf. Davis, op. cit, p. 197) out of about 100 million. 

t Estimating 500,000; cf. preceding ref. They died "from starvation, exhaus- 
tion, disease, or murder” (Davis, loc. cit). Davis’s figure of one million in- 
cludes Hindus and Sikhs, 
s Cf. ref. 3 above. 

257 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

Pakistan. They have thought and felt about themselves as Paki- 
stanis shut out from home. We ourselves have begun by stressing 
the dichotomy between what we have called “two nations,” India’s 
Muslims and Pakistan’s. We have done this, however, not merely 
to suggest the truncation psychology of the former, which has 
indeed been dominant and which we shall later have to elaborate. 
More importantly, we would signalize the positive subsistence of 
these Muslims in their new separateness, and establish their title 
to consideration in their own right. 

Indeed, our submission is that they constitute a very large and 
highly significant community, certainly one of the most significant 
and conceivably one of the most creative in the modern Muslim 
world. In our view, what they will do and will become is a much 
weightier question for contemporary Islam than either they or 
many outsiders have grasped. They have started to write one of 
the basically important chapters in current Islamic history. 

The importance is not only economic, cultural, and other; it 
includes also the field of religion. This group, however unwit- 
tingly, has set forth on a new venture — to lead, to create, a new 
life. The Islam that will live in the hearts of the Muslims of India 
will be their own. It may, and almost must, prove a different form 
of the faith from that that the Muslims of Pakistan are develop- 
ing. And conditions are such that it could well be more progressive 
and vital, more creative and humane and .true. 

In support of such a contention, various arguments will pres- 
ently be adduced. In particular, for a thesis of the intrinsic import 
of this body of Muslims, three points seem to us striking and 
consequential: the size of the group, its past tradition, and its 
involvement in the transcending complex of India. Before elabo- 
rating these, however, we must note that one of these points — the 
last: the ‘minority status’ — has seemed to many, especially within 
the community itself, an argument against rather than for their 
own significance. 

If the first obstacle to their own recognition of their selfhood 
has been their emotional enmeshment with Pakistan, and their 
obsession with having been cut off from it, the second has been 
their emotional enmeshment with the Hindus and their terror of 
being overwhelmed by them. Again, the question of what they 
themselves are has been repressed in the anxiety stirred by the 
question of their relation with those around them. 

2^8 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

Allowing a conceit, one may see the pre-’47 Muslim community 
of the subcontinent as a romantic married couple living in the 
rather cumbersome medley of a large and strident joint family. 
The couple, becoming almost frenziedly sentimental about each 
other, and particularly repulsed also by the elder cousin who 
seems about to become the new head of the family on the ap- 
proaching demise of the present patriarch, plot to break free 
from the joint family and to set up life on their own. But their 
plans are not clearly thought out, and prove only partly successful, 
partly shattering. The joint family splits up, but the lovers awake 
to find themselves divorced. And not divorced only, but each per- 
force remarried. The husband is now willy-nilly married to the 
frail, timid Hindu wife of East Bengal — frail and timid, yet able 
for all that to pose deeply embarrassing questions. The erstwhile 
wife is remarried, finding herself now the dismayed wife, or per- 
haps only the abject retainer, of that burly cousin from whom 
she had recoiled and of whom she had planned the whole scheme 
in order to be free. 

Small wonder, then, that her relations with her former lover and 
her present husband paralysingly dominated for the moment her 
mind and heart. Under this dominance she had forgotten her 
true self, was precluded from sensing or pursuing her own develop- 
ment. She was afflicted with that potentially disastrous emotional 
insecurity and imbalance of one who thinks and feels of himself 
only in relation to others, not as a person in his own right. 

Yet she is a person in her own right of more than ordinary 
stature and significance. She was in many ways the brains and even 
the driving force of her former marriage; and even, perhaps, has 
in the denouement brought with her from that earlier marriage 
a greater share of the couple’s personal possessions — ^which her 
partner, in his bolt from the ancestral home, was unable to take 
with him. More important, she has been entrusted with a new and 
crucial role to play in her new situation. It is one of heavy re- 
sponsibility, first for her own welfare and that of coming genera- 
tions. Secondly, she has responsibility also for the welfare of the 
new household of which she is now a part. She is a more significant 
member than she has learned yet to recognize; her in-laws are 
involved with her, as well as she with them. Thirdly, there is a 
responsible relationship with her own relatives outside her new 
home. She cannot return to her own family, but they are involved 


259 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

in her present destiny and will be affected and judged partly by 
her behaviour. 

To return to prose. The Indo-Muslim community, battered by 
outward circumstance and gripped inwardly by dismay, has stood 
disconcerted, inhibited from effective self-recognition and from 
active vitality. Yet not only is the welfare of that community itself 
at stake, now and for future generations. Also the histories both 
of India and of Islam will in part turn on the success or failure 
of this community in solving its present problems, on its skill 
and wisdom in meeting the challenge of today. 

In our allegory we allowed ourselves the words “she had for- 
gotten her true self.” To characterize the post-partition distraction 
of the community, its absence of realistic and critical self-aware- 
ness, the clause seems legitimate. Yet analogies are always in the 
end precarious, and in this case the word “forgot” betrays the 
inadequacy of our metaphor. For in reality the present Indo- 
Muslim group did not exist as a distinct entity before 1947. The 
individuals who now constitute it were then members of a con- 
siderably larger whole. Events have brought it about that this new 
grouping now exists and must be taken seriously. It is something 
new. She had not, then, forgotten, but rather had failed yet to 
discover her true self. The community had not yet recognized the 
validity of its own existence. It had not yet come to intellectual 
and emotional, let alone constructive, grips with the fact that in 
1947 a new thing came to birth. It had, of course — in part pain- 
fully, and anyway with no escaping — seen and felt novelty with- 
out, a new environment. But it had hardly yet sensed the newness 
within, to recognize and to accept responsibility for the new 
creature, and its new life. The group had not yet grasped the fact 
that it is a new community. 

The situation, its problems and challenges, are so new that one 
may say, as we shall presently examine, that nothing quite like 
this has ever happened before in the history of Islam. In one 
obvious sense, the Indo-Muslim community in its present form is 
exactly as new as the Pakistani. In another sense, as we shall 
presently argue, it is much older, or at least has more history be- 
hind it. In some respects, however, particularly those concerning 
religion, it is much newer, is more deeply an innovation. 

All sections of the Islamic world find themselves today in situa- 
tions that are radically unfamiliar. This is what it means to live 


260 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

in the twentieth century. Each section is in a situation that is also 
unique to itself; Islamic history in our day proceeds in segments, 
in diversity. The Indo-Muslim group is no exception on either 
score: its role in contemporary Islamic development is novel, cer- 
tainly, and is very much its own. Without precedent in the past or 
parallel in the present, the challenge to the Muslims of India if 
at all adequately met will make their community one of the most 
signihcant and creative in modern Islam. 

As already suggested, the principal argument for reckoning this 
group amongst the cardinal Islamic communities of today, rests 
on a combination of three factors: size, history, and situation. No 
one of these, quite possibly, would be sufficient in itself. But the 
juncture of the three seems to us to present the community with 
an inescapable responsibility, if not greatness, of destiny. 

Numbers in themselves, of course, are not conclusively signifi- 
cant. Egypt, Turkey, and Iran, each with populations of some- 
where about twenty millions, are not thereby the least important 
of the major nations in the Muslim world. Pakistan and Indonesia, 
the two largest bodies of Muslims today, each with just under 
seventy millions, are not automatically therefore the foremost, 
even though their potential development is manifestly great. Still, 
one need not overemphasize mere size to note that the numbers 
of the Indo-Muslim group are unquestionably impressive: in the 
neighbourhood of thirty-five to forty million. 

On the score of history the Indo-Muslim case is equally con- 
vincing. Again, among the ‘major’ Muslim groups today, this 
community would stand at neither the top nor the bottom of the 
list. If in the past it has contributed less than some (for instance, 
the Arabs) to Islamic history, than others (for instance, the Indo- 
nesians) it has contributed more. The essential point, however, is 
of course not of more or less, but simply that it has contributed 
much — strikingly much. 

It is not merely that here are two score million people, but that 
here are two score millions who stand at the head of a thousand- 
year tradition of imposing dimensions. That tradition in govern- 
ment, in the arts, in religious thought and practice (especially 
Sufi) is patently major. Indeed, no one would question the dignity 
of the tradition Islamically, the creation of a living and distinctive 
culture. What some might be fotmd to question is the ability of 
the present community to continue it. But that remains to be 


261 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

seen. We have ourselves stressed the newness of the present situa- 
tion. Yet, though new, it culminates a development that is long. 

In a sense, the Pakistani and the Indian Muslims are equally 
successors to this past. Both have the same tradition behind them. 
Culturally, each is full heir to the same heritage that was Indian 
Islam: it is available to either, to make what they may of it. 

This is largely true of the intangibles of the tradition. But in 
another sense the heritage is not quite so impartial. Not, as many 
have carelessly imagined, that Pakistan is essentially the continu- 
ator of the line of development, with the present Indo-Muslims as 
an offshoot or sideline. On the contrary, in many ways it is, clearly, 
Pakistan that is novel. Even for the sub-continent’s Muslims, it is 
the new India that is a shrunken but true continuation of the old. 
Tradition is no muhajir-, and history does not readily opt out. 
The present Indian Muslims fell heir to more than their share 
of the concrete assets and institutions of their forefathers: from 
the position of the Nizam” to the Taj Mahall, and from the tradi- 
tional theological centre at Deoband to the University at ‘Aligarh 
and the Jamia. Even the homeland of the Urdu language remained 
within India. More subtly but no less importantly, they fell heir 
to the Indianness of their predecessors’ situation. 

What they have done or might or could do with these is another 
question, which will occupy us later. For the moment we but 
stress the fact that this group began life in 1947 not as an aberra- 
tion, and certainly not from scratch. The story of the Muslims in 
India has been a long one, with many vicissitudes. In it has been 
much of importance, much of grandeur, much of turmoil (both 
inflicted and suffered). The point is that that story is not yet over. 

This brings us to the third and most characteristic feature of 
the Indian Muslims’ position. If in numbers and in past tradi- 
tion they are clearly to be compared with the other chief com- 
munities of Islam, politically their situation is unicpie. Of these 
major communities four (Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia) have 
the form of independent nation-states in the modern-Western 
sense. The Indians and the Arabs are exceptions, each in a dis- 

” An ambivalence in the Indo-Muslim attitude to the Nizam of Uaydarabad 
is illustrated in two poems of Zafar ‘Ali Khau, both in his collection Ba- 
hdristdn, Lahore, 1956: “Shan-i Awrangzeb” (p. 112), which sees the dynasty 
as continuing Mughul glory, and "Saringapatam” (pp, 123-24), which sees it 
as having played the traitor to it and to tlie Muslims, over against Tipu 
Sulfan. 


262 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

tincdve way. The Arabs, though self-consciously bound together 
by language and culture, are politically disunited. The Indian 
Muslims, somewhat diverse in language (more than half speak 
Urdu, and about a third Bengali), somewhat integrated in culture, 
and highly self-conscious, are, of course, citizens of one state. In- 
deed, they are citizens of what is from almost every point of view 
one of the most important states in the modern world. What gives 
them a radically unique posture among the major sections of 
contemporary Islam, and is manifestly also the fundamental fea- 
ture of their own current development, is the fact that they share 
citizenship in the new republic with an immense number of other 
people. 

They constitute the only sizable body of Muslims in the world 
of whom this is, or ever has been, true. One may compare the 
Muslims in China, the U.S.S.R, or Negro Africa. Not only are 
these groups much smaller in size (roughly twenty millions each); 
and not only do they have vastly less history behind them. There 
is the further radical difference that they are not free. 

This Indian situation is complex and needs to be elaborately 
explored. But at first blow it seemed to many Muslims simple; a 
sheer, overwhelming frustration of any hope of realizing their 
community’s dreams. The quality of this new kind of history, in 
its radical and creative emergence, was lost in the stunning sense 
of the end of the old kind. An utter bleakness seemed to have 
descended. 

We have suggested earlier that the basic dilemma of modern 
Muslims resides in the discrepancy between their faith and their 
contemporary history. This discrepancy seemed at its most vast 
for these Muslims of India. If for other Islamic groups the glories 
of the community’s earthly career had waned and the onward 
march of its history faltered, for this group they appeared to have 
been shattered into nothingness. While other segments of Islamic 
history seemed inadequate to their divine theme, these men put 
forth a great effort to achieve a Pakistan where one part, at least, 
of that history might shine forth once again in true splendour. 
Yet from the debacle their own, Indian, segment seemed to emerge 
more inadequate than ever, if not extinct. The earthly conditions 
of other major Muslim communities seemed to frustrate their 
Islamic aspirations; those of this community, derisively to mock 
them. 


2^5 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

This interpretation omits many aspects of the historical situa- 
tion, both concrete and potential. It omits, too, many basic con- 
siderations of the religious involvement. In our view it is, then, 
a hasty and inadequate understanding; we shall presently en- 
deavour to amend it. However, it cannot be dismissed as a superfi- 
cial misreading. It rests on manifest facts, and must be understood. 

The community in its present form was born in bloodshed and 
hatred, weak in a world at war. In 1947 the riots and massacres of 
Partition, ghastly beyond all telling, ushered into existence the 
new states of India and Pakistan. If the vehemence and violence 
of those desperate days left their mark on the two nations, how 
much more on the minorities within them, who cowered in help- 
less fear. And it was not only the climactic outburst of destructive 
passion sweeping across Pakistan and India in those early months 
of the nations’ freedom, but the years of mounting tension that 
had led up to it; the gradually intensifying and shrill animosity 
that had gripped the land as the two great communities suffered 
misunderstanding and estrangement, then fear and acrid anger. 
The rejecting and being rejected of strident, frenzied communal- 
ism provided the background from which this community came, 
through a holocaust, to be a minority in a dominion whose general 
populace they considered, and who considered them, alien and 
bitterly hostile. 

When passions cooled, the terror passed but the difficulties 
remained. The new India fairly quickly pulled itself out of the 
morass of the early dislocation, and set itself with some enthusiasm 
and skill to overcome grave crises of food shortages and the like; 
settling down to the constructive, responsible, difficult, and at 
times exhilarating business of being and becoming a free nation 
in a perplexing but exciting world. Some individual Muslims, par- 
ticularly those few who had throughout identified themselves with 
Indian nationalism and spurned the separatism of the Muslim 
League, joined in this great forward endeavour. They devoted 
themselves to it with sincerity and energy, and were accepted in 
it with equality and friendship.^® The bulk of their community. 

Individual Muslim members of the cabinet were conspicuous: not only 
the famed Abu-l-Kalam Azad of long standing, but the devoted, able, and 
much appreciated Raff Ahmad Qidwa’I, who executed a notable task in the 
organizing of the food-control situation in the country’s early, critical years. 
Other Muslim persons of prominence have served their country with distinc- 

26/}. 


INDIA; ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

however, neither trusting nor trusted, held aloof. It continued to 
cower; rejected, mistrusted, and afraid. 

Its members felt that the new creative upsurge of Indian con- 
struction was not for them. Indian freedom they saw rather as 
the unchecked opportunity for their enemies to hold them down 
or indeed to crush them. They tended to feel that the professed 
secularism of the new state was an hypocrisy; at best constitu- 
tionalizing the lack of special consideration in protection for non- 
Hindus, and at worst, especially on the lower levels of adminis- 
tration, merely putting up a facade for international exhibition 
behind which to practise the discrimination of the liberated and 
disdainful and even vindictive Hindus. They tended similarly to 
feel that the democracy was at best but an arithmetic device, de- 
priving their votes of effective consequence; and at worst again 
a false front of a caste-conscious and closed community in power. 

We shall return to a discussion of these really deep issues. At 
this point we may observe that, whatever its validity, an under- 
standing of how Muslims and others in their position could and 
did tend to such an interpretation is quite fundamental to an 
appreciation not only of their inner feelings and dismay, but also 
of their objective condition. 

To the generalization that no religious minority anywhere in 
the world really feels secure and accepted, China was in pre- 
Communist days perhaps the one exception. In the existing cir- 
cumstances it was inconceivable of India that it should be an 
exception — ^just as it was of Pakistan. Man has not yet devised a 
social system to accommodate satisfactorily those groups who do 
not participate fully. The Negroes in America, the Jews in Chris- 
tendom, the Copts in Egypt, the deviationists under Communism, 
have had varying reason to be afraid. It is no easy or pleasant 
matter to be in a minority anywhere — even though tolerance can 
vary vastly, all the way from liberality to zero. It is mawkish and 
absurd to lose sight of the fact that rights and freedom, even if 
short of perfection, are extremely important in those cases where 
they exist at all, in whatever degree (there is a minority psychology 


don and happiness as ambassadors, civil service commissioners, and the like, 
and within the civil service; and a trusted institution such as the Jamia near 
Delhi found itself in full development. (It was remarked by some more 
humble Muslims, however, that this type of career was much easier for men 
of prominence than for the obscure, at top levels than in remote areas.) 




INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

that does lose sight of this, complaining of shortcomings without 
appreciation of degrees). It is also false to lose sight of the fact 
that no matter what rights and freedom obtain, it is in the nature 
of human society impossible for a member of a minority^^ to feel 
fully at home. His life is sentenced to infringement. It is among 
the bitternesses of human history that his personality is precluded 
from that free flowering to which man as a full member of a free 
group may have the good fortune to rise. 

In the particular case of India and of the Muslim group within 
it, it is irresponsibly blind to underestimate the legal provisions 
of the Constitution, the liberal spirit of the goveimment and so- 
ciety in so far as this prevails, and those factors in the past heritage 
and present development making for fraternity and human recog- 
nition. Secularism and its nondiscriminatory “democratic” justice 
have, surely, been an aspiration rather than an attainment. Yet 
one must recall the lesson of the rise of fascism: that even hypo- 
critical pretensions of democracy and sadly fragmentary imple- 
mentations of justice are of relative value, and disastrously worse 
can be no such pretensions at all, and the implementation of some 
other vision. Only in very limited numbers did Muslims evaluate 
with true appreciation the ideals and announced objectives of the 
nation to which they belonged, and such earnestness as the gov- 
ernment and other leadership evinced in pursuit of these. Infi- 
nitely precious are the aspirations of sheerly human welfare 
irrespective of communal consideration, which the state has for- 
mally jrroclaimed; and also infinitely precious are those forces, 
Hindu and other, within the society that motivate some at least 
of its citizens to devote themselves to this aspiration with varying 
but not negligible sincerity. It was no small matter that the Hindu 
leaders of the nation, in the name of secularism and humanity, 
restrained the natural and potentially ferocious impetus of the 
Hindu majority to wreak vengeance on the Muslim group. 

On the other hand, it is also blind not to recognize that the 
minority is a minority; with disabilities and frustrations and fears, 
and grounds for fear, that are real and large — linguistic, economic, 
political and other. 

The community is in danger of being deprived of its language, 
than which only religious faith is a deeper possession. Nine years 
of gradual adjustment in other fields have brought no improve- 

By “minority” we mean, of course, socially significant minority; which 
perhaps renders tire observation almost tautologous, though still important. 

266 


INDIA; ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

ment in this, and little prospect of improvement. And alongside 
the new constitutional Indian political system of democracy, and 
alongside such strands in Hindu thought and development as 
preach the worth of man as man, stands the old Hindu religious 
system of caste, the most highly organized, rigid, philosophically 
justified, and stubbornly persistent system of social discrimination 
and arrogant inequality that humanity throughout its long history 
of failure in fraternity has ever evolved. 

In our insistence earlier in this discussion, still to be elaborated, 
that the Indian Muslim community is in a position of great import 
and potential creativity, we did not mean that it faces no problem. 

Disruption by Pakistan 

Next to Hindu communalism, the most conspicuous factor in 
the continuing insecurity and distress of tlie Muslims of India has 
been the behaviour of Pakistan. The Muslims of Pakistan have 
strikingly contributed to the dislocation of the Indian Muslims’ 
life. 

In some ways it is simply the existence of Pakistan that under- 
mines the Muslims’ position in India. Its establishment of course 
made them a much smaller minority than they would otherwise 
have been. In undivided India, caste Hindus constituted a ma- 
jority of 53 per cent, with Muslims counting almost half that 
number; in the shrunken India of today the former aggregate 
66 per cent, outnumbering Muslims over six to one. (If one ex- 
tends ‘Hindus’ to include ‘Scheduled Castes’ and non-Christian 
‘Tribals,’ these figures become: per cent and over one third for 
undivided India; and after Partition 85 per cent, more than eight 
to one.“) 

Further, by voting for Pakistan’s establishment, over against all 
other offers, the present Indo-Muslims as it were explicitly rejected 
all claim to special status in the new India, and almost could be 
seen as rejecting all claim to any status at all. (“These men made 

The figures in this paragraph have been calculated on the following data 
(in millions). For 1941: Caste Hindus, 206.1 (d); Scheduled Castes, 48.8 (a); 
Tribals, 25.4 (a); non-Christian Tribals. 24.3 (c); total non-Tribal Hindus, 
254.93 (a); total “Hindus,” 279.3 (d); Muslims, 94.4 (a); total population, 
388.998 (a). For 1951: Caste Hindus, 233.9 (d): Scheduled Castes, 51.3 
(b); Tribals, 19.1 (b); non-Christian Tribals, i8 (c); total “Hindus,” 303.2 
(b); Muslims. 35.4 (b); total population, 356.879 (b). Sources: (a) Census of 
India 1941-, (b) Times of India, op.cit, pp. 7, 10; (c) our own calculations 
from (a) and (b) as modified by the figures and reasoning of Kingsley Davis, 
The Population of India and Pakistan, Princeton, 1951, p. 251; (d) by addi- 
tion or subtraction. 

26y 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

an intolerably large demand — and we conceded it. Let them now 
keep quiet.”) And a Muslim peasant, who perhaps never had a 
political idea in his head, may be kicked about in his village with 
the contemptuous sneer, “Why don’t you get out; why don’t you 
go to your Pakistan?” And his cry does not reach very far. 

Nonetheless, to the simple fact of Pakistan’s establishment the 
Indian Muslims could more easily have adjusted themselves, had 
it not been for that "Islamic” nation’s subsequent activities. The 
policies pursued, based in this sphere on a persistently commu- 
nalist interpretation of Muslim interests, have tended to affect 
adversely the Muslim on the Indian side of the frontier. 

This began immediately after partition, when the Pakistan 
Muslims massacred and raped and exiled Sikhs and Hindus by the 
millions. On the whole, India quickly recognized that this terrify- 
ing situation was equally damaging to both sides. Its public leaders 
and private citizens soon saw the outburst in human terms, and 
expressed penitence on “. . . the blackest chapter in the history 
of India.”^^ Pakistan, on the other hand, seems not to have had 
the freedom from prejudice and the moral sensitivity and courage 
to acknowledge its roughly equal guilt.^^ The Muslims of that 

13 Sardar Pafel, in an address to Congpressmen at Bangalore, Feb. 25, 1949, 
criticized those -who believed in Hindu Raj and only Hindu culture: “Gand- 
hiji was against that mad idea,” he said, and went on, “We did not listen 
to [his appeal for unity], and when we got freedom, we know how the three 
communities, Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs behaved. It is now a matter of 
history and it will always remain the blackest chapter in the history of India” 
— The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Feb. 26, 1949. Apart from leaders’ 
statements of this kind, the present writer has found ordinary citizens — Sikh 
taxi drivers in Calcutta, Hindu refugees whom one meets on the trains — 
spontaneously expressive of similar sentiments, and regretting communal 
ill will and its results as a shame to humanity. 

i*It is difficult to document, and indeed to be sure about, the relative 
distribution of murders, horrors, and the general infliction of sufiiering. 
However, in 1949 the present writer made as careful inquiry as he was able, 
for example among Christian volunteers working among refugees, abducted 
women, etc.; and became tentatively persuaded that there seemed relatively 
little to choose between the two sides. This much at least is certain, that 
enough was inflicted on both sides for regret. Government publications and 
private writings, however, in Pakistan still (1956) tend to speak of the 1947 
holocaust self-righteously. There have been, apparently, some Urdu novels 
published in Pakistan portraying the 1947 situation in humanist rather 
than communal terms. Yet the general mood does not seem significantly to 
have altered. (A typical and innocuous enough example of the standard 
attitude: the government publication Pakistan, the Struggle of a Nation, 
Washington, 1949, p. 36, "At the Time of Partition.”) 

268 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

country have in general not been aware of the appalling suffering 
that the other side also underwent. It was left to the Muslims of 
India (into whose midst the surviving refugees poured in bitter 
terror) to recognize the fierce madness — to recognize it; and in 
part to pay its price. 

However, the fearful days of 1947 passed; and gradually India 
has struggled forward towards forgetting them. The deep wounds 
then inflicted cannot readily heal; it will be long before no bitter- 
ness remains. Yet in less than ten years the Muslim community 
slowly found itself realizing that its worst fears could go. It would 
not be exterminated (“as we were in Spain”) or utterly ground 
down, as many had apprehended. The majority community had 
only in part forgiven or forgotten; yet it was restrained from 
taking vengeance. 

The goodwill of that majority, however, on which so much 
seemed to depend, was inhibited by various features, among 
which, as we have said, Pakistan behaviour continued to be 
prominent. At a level relatively close to the surface, this has 
operated in that what Pakistan does from day to day (espe- 
cially vis-h-vis its internal Hindu community in East Bengal, 
and externally vis-a-vis India) influences the attitude of the ma- 
jority Indian population to local Muslims, Any increase in hos- 
tility between the two nations, or any deterioration in the position 
of Pakistani Hindus, has been quickly reflected in the worsening 
of the Indian Muslims’ situation. Contrariwise, the single most 
important step towards a betterment in this situation would be 
improvement in Pakistan-India relations (actually, one of the 
most important steps for the welfare of both countries in general, 
quite apart from any consideration of minorities). Each new 
Hindu discontent fleeing from East Pakistan, and each nerv 
border incident or exacerbation of canal-water dispute or refugee- 
property question, have had repercussions on Muslim life within 
India. 

This had added a singular complication to the Kashmir tangle: 
since a transfer of Kashmir to Pakistan would, and even pressure 
for such a transfer does, militate against the interest of other 
Muslims in India. Nationalist leaders of the latter group have 
seen this point and expressed it;^® but Pakistanis have been quite 
unable to comprehend this.’-® 

1= See the statement presented by Zakir I^usayn and others on the Kashmir 

26 p 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

Kashmir is not, however, the most important issue. We have 
said that this sort of matter has been relatively close to the sur- 
face. The effects can go deep, and be serious. Yet the more funda- 
mental point has been the philosophy that underlies the acts. 
Pakistan came into existence and has continued to operate on a 
communalist interpretation both of Muslims’ interests and of 
Indian nationalism. Formally, its official policy was forced by 
realities fairly quickly to recognize that Pakistan has no extra- 
territorial claim on the Muslims of India.^'^ Emotionally, however, 
and unofficially, the claim persisted. Pakistani attitudes to India 
still expressed a basic antagonism,^® and a refusal to admit the 
latter’s non-communal character. Its people remained stilP® in- 
capable of recognizing, let alone of applauding and encouraging, 


issue: Text of Memorandum, dated August ip$i, submitted by Fourteen 
Muslim Leaders of Lidia to Dr. Frank P. Graham, United Nations Repre- 
sentative. This was subsequently bound as a pamphlet, with the cover-title 
Indian Muslim Leaders' Memorandum on Kashmir, and the indication, 
"Issued by Dr. Zakir Hussain, Vice Chancellor, Muslim University, Aligarh.” 

The standard reaction in Pakistan to die “Statement” was to dismiss it 
as one more instance of how utterly dominated by the Hindu Indian govern- 
ment Muslims in India were; it was interpreted as illustrating the pressure 
on those Muslims, and their succumbing to it. This attitude, apart from 
being a gratuitous insult to a person of the moral and other stature of Dr. 
Zakir Husayn, was politically unrealistic. 

IT April 8, 1950: an agreement between India and Pakistan, signed by the 
two prime ministers, on the treatment of minorities, known as the Delhi Pact, 
or the Liyaqat-Nehru pact. The text will be found in The Middle East Jour- 
nal, Washington, 4:344-46 (1950). Note especially the paragraph: “Both 
Governments wish to emphasize that the allegiance and loyalty of the minori- 
ties is to the State of which they are citizens, and that it is to the Government 
of their own State that they should look for the redress of their grievances.” 

18 This fact is stridently obvious to any visitor to the country, especially 
to West Pakistan. It can be seen in published literature also; cf. almost any 
issue of the government’s bi-montlily press excerpts, Pakistan News Digest, 
Karachi, and especially the editorials of the Karachi daily, Daiun. 

1° This continued the attitude of the pre-partition Muslim League vis-d,-vis 
the Congress: an insistence by the League not only that it itself represented 
a religious community (“nation”), but also that the Congress did, and must 
acknowledge itself as doing so. The League was never able to acknowledge 
that the principle on which the Congress rested was different from its own, 
that the dispute between them was between a communal and a non-communal 
group. This was the actual issue on which agreement between the two 
primarily floundered. (Cf. W. C. Smith, Modern Islam in India, Lahore, 
1943 ' PP- 293-94: London, “1946” [sc. 1947], pp. 253-54.) The basic difficulty 
has been and remains the long-standing and widespread one, of insisting on 
interpreting other people in terms of one’s own presuppositions. 




INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

the secularism of the new state. Rather than coming firmly to 
terms with the realization that the position of India’s Muslims 
depends primarily on two things, their aspiration towards Indian- 
ness and India’s aspiration towards secularism, Pakistan has tended 
to deride that secularism^" and to presume and encourage a dis- 
loyalty of Indian Muslims to their state.^’^ 

The whole matter is partly the normal outworking of disparate 
national interests, with each state pursuing its own policies quite 
regardless of their repercussions within the other. Yet there is 
more involved. The vitiation goes back to a fundamental self- 
contradiction in the basic idea on which the Pakistan programme 
was put forward. This was the Muslim League proposition that 
“the Muslims of India are a nation.’’ To say that the Muslims of 
Pakistan constitute a nation, or the Muslims of the world, ivoulcl 
have been coherent; whether true or false. But to posit the then 
term “India” as having nationalist meaning, in the very determi- 
nation to negate it, was inevitably to become enmeshed in incon- 
sistencies. These, when translated into practice, must and did 
mean disruption and clash. This idea still obtains; and in so far 
as it obtains, it continues to disrupt painfully and deeply. 

It is of course not unusual that ideas, especially when not care- 
fully thought out — this one ivas hardly thought out at alP^ — prove 

20 For instance, it is a fairly standard sarcasm to use quotation marks in 
referring to '“secular' India"— a recent example, Pakistan News Digest, 
Karachi, 4:18, p. 6 (Aug. 15, 1956), quoting Dawn, Karachi. At a more 
serious level, one may note so responsible a thinker as Dr. Ishtiyaq plusayn 
Qurayshi seriously writing, while a member of the Pakistan cabinet, of his 
hopelessness for the Muslim minority in India; “In a hundred years, perhaps 
in a shorter time, the Muslim people may cease to exist in that country” — 
I. PI. Qureshi, “The Foundations of Pakistani Culture,” a paper presented 
to the Colloquium on Islamic Culture, Princeton, 1953; reprinted in The 
Muslim World, Hardord, 44.:^-ii (1954), p. 8. 

21 This takes the form not only of speeches and the general tone of refer- 
ences in Pakistan (chiefly West Pakistan) to Indian Muslims; but also of 
positive action, in that Indian Muslims even in responsible positions are 
actively enticed to abandon their country and their responsibilities and to 
accept offers from Pakistan, including the Pakistan government, The out- 
standing examples have been the poet Josh and Brigadier Anis, discussed 
below; but the tendency has operated in countless smaller instances. _ Few 
Pakistanis have had the imagination to recognize that they are undermining 
the position of Muslims in India by giving employment to Muslim graduates 
of Indian universities immediately upon their graduation, etc. 

22 Mr. Jinnah is usually regarded, by Pakistanis at least, as a brilliant 
leader. That he was a clever dialectician and lawyer seems clear. Yet is it 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

to have internal inconsistencies when implemented. The diiHicul- 
ties have in this case been rendered unusually serious not only 
by the vast and radical nature of the programme, and the pro- 
fundity of the emotions involved, but also in that most of the 
consequent heavy cost fell on one section of those involved. It is 
the Indian Muslims who have chiefly paid for the ambiguities of 
Pakistan. It is they who have suffered most for the impracticalities 
and absurdities.^® 

Similarly in the case of the profound emotional ambivalencies. 
There was in the Pakistan proposal, in addition to a positive con- 
structive element, a negative one of sheer hatred and fear. Along 
with the affirmative vision of actually building a new and creative 
community life, went a destructive fury of anti-Hindu, anti-out- 
sider rejection. And along with the positive aspiration of the 
Muslims to be free went the negative impulse of Hindus not to 
accept them. Here again, such positive aspects as there were came 
to fruition on the Pakistan side of the frontier; and while there is 
also in Pakistan still immense play for the negative aspects, on the 
Indian side it is only these that could find expression. Indian 
Muslims pay for Pakistan’s imperfections not only in present 
action but in original intention. They are involved with Pakistan, 
but inevitably with its contrarieties. They cannot share its 
triumphs but must suffer for its faults. 

This kind of inverted relation is discouragingly visible also on 


not perhaps time to bring into question his statesmanship, his political 
sagacity, in view ol his apparent failure to foresee — apparently even to try 
to foresee — the concrete outworking of his proposals? One is left with the 
impression that he had never studied a map of the Panjab or Bengal; let 
alone envisaged the former’s canal system. When asked about such problems 
as Kashmir, he irately insisted that only British India was under discussion 
in the constitutional proposals. When asked about the boundaries of the 
proposed Pakistan, he ridiculed as preposterous the suggestion that these 
should be roughly what they in fact turned out to be (cf. his part in the 
Gandhi-Jinnah talks, 1944; cited in Smith, op. cit., London ed., p. 284). If 
he is to be credited with all Pakistan’s achievements, as is customary, should 
he be exempted from responsibility for its problems? 

One must note the Qurbdn theory: that the Indo-Muslims have gladly 
paid the price for Islam’s flourishing in Pakistan. "It is good that we suffer,” 
they say in effect, "in order that our brethren might be free.” This is legiti- 
mate enough, if it be sincere and not rationalization. Plowever, the disillusion- 
ment has been bitter with the discovery, gradually spreading, that Islam 
in Pakistan, rather than flourishing, has become in large measure the play- 
thing of hypocritical and ineffective politicians. 




INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

the^ other side. Pakistani Muslims have had so heavy a psycho- 
logical investment in the conviction that Indian Muslims are 
mistreated, that at times one cannot but detect a morbid welcom- 
ing o£ adverse news,®* and a resistance to awareness of Indo-Mus- 
lim welfare. The emotional involvement between the two groups 
is still close, and is itself a further cause of their actual 
estrangement. 

The Indian Muslims are, or appear to be, in the unenviable 
position of having their fate depend upon two outside groups. 
Their condition seems determined not only by the behaviour of 
their fellow citizens of a different faith, but also by that of their 
fellow Muslims of a different nation. They have been manoeu- 
vred into a position where it is they who pay for the mistakes 
or excesses, and even the apparent mistakes and excesses, of 
another Muslim community. Killing of non-Muslims in Lahore 
wounds Muslims in India; any failure of justice in Dacca makes 
justice for them that much more difficult. The more “Islamic” 
Pakistan is in form (and especially in so far as there is form with- 
out substance), the less secure are the Muslims of India. In a crude 
and exteriorist and grossly unsubtle sense, a cynic might aver that 
the more Islam flourishes in Pakistan the more it will wilt in 
India. 

The truth of this will be gainsaid only if Islam is taken, by the 
Muslims of both communities, in a lofty and interior and subtle 
dynamic sense. For those who fail to rise to such an interpretation, 
the distress is both inward and external. 

Self-Inflicted Tragedy 

We have said that Pakistan has been a conspicuous factor in the 
Indo-Muslim community’s distress. The more serious factor, how- 
ever, underlying this, has been rather the community’s own atti- 
tudes and behaviour. The adverse effect of Pakistan’s policies 

2 * This is apparently chiefly in conversation, but is visible also in the way 
stories of Indian mistreatment are presented in the Pakistani press. In addi- 
tion to genuine sympathy, there is a strand in Pakistani psychology not very 
far below the surface that does not want to hear well of Indo-Muslims. Still 
today (1956) the Pakistan News Digest takes pains to publish stories of unfair 
treatment of Christians in India, which can fulfil, clearly, only a psychological 
need (there would be no reason, for instance, for that government to publish 
stories of unfair treatment of Christians in Egypt or of, say, Jews in Argen- 
tina). 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

would have been incomparably less were it not for the com- 
munity’s own orientation. It is the idea of Pakistan, rather than 
its actuality, and the continuing participation of Indian Muslims 
in that idea, that has been emotionally and then socially disruptive. 

So long as the Indian Muslims think of themselves, and by their 
behaviour and attitudes allow both Pakistani Muslims and Indian 
Plindus to think of them, not as Indian Muslims but as Pakistani 
Muslim expatriates, so long will their position be bleak. This 
stand incapacitates them, inevitably and desperately. It has pro- 
duced, and cannot but produce, insecurity, both internal and 
overt, emotional and social; through inner confusion and outer 
mistrust. The rest of India cannot accept them so long as they 
appear to be ‘fifth columnists.’ And they cannot even accept them- 
selves. In these terms they cannot accept and hardly dare to recog- 
nize the situation in which they are placed. It is not merely an 
historical but a theological dilemma. Their faith — Islam — is the 
one thing the present denouement left to them, one reality to 
which in forlornness they can and must cling. Yet it is their Islam 
that, they feel, links them to Pakistan and segregates them from 
the India in ivhich they live. In fact, of course, it is not Islam that 
does this, but a particular interpretation of Islam, an interpreta- 
tion from which, during the crucial 1940’s, the main understand- 
ing individuals in the present Indo-Muslim community kept them- 
selves free, but to which most of the group succumbed, and of 
which it has since been able only very partially to rid itself. A new 
interpretation of Islam in terms realistic for the present situation, 
superseding pre-partition emotions and viewpoints with a dynamic 
that would inspire the community to come to creative grips with 
today’s problems and opportunities, has yet to be attained. 

The majority of the Muslims in India have felt that their group 
is helpless, the plaything of outside forces over which they have 
had no control. They suddenly awoke to find themselves in a 
situation that they abhorred, one from which with blind fury 
they had been struggling to be free, only to find it descending 
upon them all the more poignantly and crushingly. 

The feeling, however, though deep and important, is essentially 
false. In fact the turn that their history has taken has not come 
through an inscrutable fate or an alien power. On the contrary, it 
was primarily the community’s own doing. This is a development 
in Islamic history that the Muslims concerned themselves 


^74 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

brought about. If the community did not choose the situation in 
which it finds itself, it chose the steps which led to it. In the 
’forties, after long suppression, it moved toward freedom; and 
eKcrcised that freedom by choosing to work for the, creation of 
Pakistan — that is, toward the partition of India. It was primarily 
the Indian Muslims who were responsible for the emergence of 
the new state, and therefore also for the consequent position of 
their own community on the Indian side of the frontier. The 
Pakistanis followed and accepted, but the Indian Muslims led and 
created. It is true that they did not clearly foresee the shape into 
which they were moulding their own history. It is possible to be 
free without being either clear-sighted or wise. It is not possible 
to be free without being responsible. 

The Indian Muslims are responsible for tlieir own situation not 
only in the sense that they voted for Pakistan. This is, of course, 
the fundamental point. But there are others. One is the ‘opting out’ 
of leaders, at the time of the igqy crisis. Within the community, 
the masses were left with drastically less than a normal quota of 
leadership of all kinds — in education, business, the professions, 
government service — simply because a high percentage of this 
group departed to cross the frontier at the time of partition. The 
Muslim League party used its persuasive powers to encourage this, 
enticing Muslims in positions of any significance to abandon the 
local community and to migrate to Pakistan, apparently without 
regard or sense of responsibility for the many Muslims who would 
be left behind. Nationally, the resulting burden was shouldered 
by the small group of outstanding personalities who throughout 
had been loyal to the Indian-nationalist ideal, seeing the Muslims’ 
place as inevitably within the larger complex. In local situations, 
however, the loss could not but be severe, both in immediate 
practical consequence and in the example of apparent failure of 
moral responsibility or courage. It will perhaps take some time 
before the community can on a large and wide-ranging scale gen- 
erate a new leadership from within its own depleted and discour- 
aged ranks. 

This matter too would have been less disruptive had the process 
not continued apace. The 1947 crisis came and went; those who 
chose to depart then had made a decision, which, sound or other- 
wise, could be respected. But those who chose to stay, and pro- 
claimed a loyalty that they later betrayed, were another matter. 


375 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

A persistent efflux of leaders long after 1947 not only increased 
the depletion, and the community’s devastating sense of being 
left vdthout guides. It also continued to falsify the position of 
those who remained, casting severe doubts on their reliability and 
status. There were men within India, both Hindus and Muslims, 
who championed the community’s cause, or championed the cause 
of individual Muslims for promotion or honour or trust, and 
fought the communalism of those other Hindus who would write 
off all Indo-Muslims as inherently disloyal. Such men’s case was 
repeatedly undermined by the series of illustrations by members 
of the Muslim community that in fact they were not loyal to India. 

Numerous young Muslims graduating from the universities con- 
tinued to seek jobs in Pakistan rather than in India. Several 
prominent Muslim political leaders, in many cases even after 
having taken their oath of allegiance to the new country and hav- 
ing accepted positions of trust, also later sought and found — or 
were offered and accepted — opportunities to cross over to Pakistan. 
Literary and even religious leaders, even after accepting special 
positions and distinctions from the government, transferred them- 
selves and their loyalty to Pakistan when more highly-paid pros- 
pects were proffered from that side. Perhaps the most damaging 
incident was when a brigadier general in the Indian army, after 
having opted for India and been advanced to positions of responsi- 
bility and access to secret information, in 1955 voluntarily retired 
and at once settled down in Pakistan, accepting a Pakistan-gov- 
ernment post. 

It can be imagined how severely behaviour such as this worsens 
the situation of those Muslims who remain. Brigadier Anis’s move 
has made it much more difficult for another Muslim to be ap- 
pointed brigadier (and indeed, even to be appointed chaprasi or 
peon). The poet Josh’s departure has meant that the prospects for 
Urdu in India, whatever they may have been before he made his 
decision, are much darker afterward. Pakistanis use this kind of 
material to prove how bleak is the Muslim position in India, how 
discontent are even its established and favoured leaders. We leave 
aside for later discussion such questions, and the wider ramifica- 
tions and significance of this whole trend. At the moment we but 
make the obvious observation that in general the position of the 
community, whatever it be, has been made worse by its own 
disloyalties. We also leave unexplored the moral question, as to 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

why these leaders, if indeed they had found conditions for Mus- 
lims in India dark, chose their own personal advancement rather 
than sensing any duty to remain, in their privileged positions, to 
serve their fellows. 

The community’s estrangement from India, and from the real- 
ities of its own present situation, has been evinced and fostered by 
its emotional entanglement not only with Pakistan but with its 
own past. There are, indeed, several ways in which the difficulties 
of the present community, if not ‘self-inflicted,’ are anyway to be 
traced to factors within its own situation, rather than or as well 
as to the adversity of outsiders. There is the complex economic 
situation, in whose evolution for seventy-five years the Muslims 
have as a group been as it were disfavoured, since their community 
has throughout produced fewer than its due share of individuals and 
groups adjusted to, or able to take advantage of, new opportunities 
and necessities. This disadvantage, this communal lag behind con- 
stantly developing circumstance, has operated not only to depress 
the economic level of individuals and groups, with all the conse- 
quent psychological and emotional disturbances. It has also had 
far-reaching implications for standard cultural and religious 
activity. 

To take one example: most of the productive centres of Islamic 
culture in India — from a semi-classical institution such as the 
Nadwah at Lucknow to a Westernizing journal such as Islamic 
Culture of Hyderabad — tvere chiefly financed either from landed 
property or from the largesse of princes; that is, from obsolescent 
remnants from an earlier age. The modernization of India has in 
substance been gathering momentum for long, but in form had 
been held back by British control; it made a forward spurt after 
1947. In doing so it has left Muslim feudal institutions unpro- 
tected in an industrial-technological age. The supersession of 
zamindari and of the native princes have been two of the most 
striking achievements of modern India; they must be regarded as 
major steps of progress. That they have spelled hardship for Indian 
Islam reveals the backwardness of that community. What has 
seemed to Indian Muslims the inflicting of discrimination may 
from another point of view be regarded as the uncovering of 
weakness. 

25 Cf. Smith, op. cit., esp. Part II. chapp. 1 and 5 , for a fairly elaborate 
descriptive analysis of this process. 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

The most spectacular instance of this, and of Muslim blind fury 
in protest against it, was the 1948 Hyderabad tragedy.'^® This illus- 
trates further one more attempt of the Indian Muslims not to 
accept their new position in a democratic India. The loss of self- 
respect over the vanished pomp of a prouder, mightier yesterday, 
and the frenzied but futile attempt to perpetuate erstwhile power, 
were terribly illustrated in that desperate fiasco. The Nizam and 
his regime symbolized for many Muslims throughout the country 
the earthly greatness of Islamic history in its earlier and happier 
days, and the imminent possibility of the regime’s downfall 
brought home to them too distressingly the extent to which that 
earthly greatness had come to an end. The fanatical support that 
the symbol elicited from the community, like the Khilafat Move- 
ment thirty years before, was in part a genuine if shortsighted 
endeavour to keep Muslim power on earth from too utterly dis- 
integrating. But it was in part also an endeavour to keep from 
recognizing hoiv utterly it had, in this form, disintegrated already. 

The whole affair is a sadly illuminating commentary not only on 
the political ineptitude to which their dispiritedness had led these 
Indo-Muslims. It illuminates also the moral and intellectual fail- 
ure to recognize that for today and tomorrow both the earthly and 
the spiritual greatness of Islam must, as for the rest of us, take 
new and different forms. It has been painful for backward-looking 
Muslims to discover that neither God nor the United Nations is 
concerned to preserve the ancient forms of Islamic achievement. 
The future glory of Islam in India will be built not by those who 
battle or bemoan the passing of the antique and by now hollow 
dominions of feudal potentates, but by men who strive to ascer- 
tain and to bring appropriately to bear on modern conditions the 
timeless, transcendent truths of the faith. 

The excruciating price that the Hyderabad Muslims paid for 
their misinterpretations, must also be remembered. In our attempt 
to understand the present dilemma and distress of the Indo-Mus- 
lim group, and even to understand how far this is engendered 
from within, we must not lose sight of how devastatingly each 
false move has worsened their situation. 

Signs of Hope 

Two contrasting trends have been evident among the Indian 
Muslim community, in the face of the developing situation in 

2“ For references, cf. above, chap, a, ref. ig. 

2p8 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

which it has found itself. One is the vicious circle of maladjust- 
ment and insecurity, at which we have already glanced. The other 
has been the painful and slow victory of realism, of gradually 
coming to forced terms with actuality, and climbing towards de- 
liberate, responsible, liberated participation in it. In the former 
way has lain despondency, and the search for escape. In the latter 
have appeared signs of the darvn of a new day for Islam and its 
community, that might mean a gaeat new freedom and creative 
adjustment and progress — of significance far beyond India. 

Once again we meet that fundamental crisis of Islam, lying in 
the radical and growing discrepancy between the new situation in 
which the Muslims find themselves, and the now outdated emo- 
tions and concepts with which they confront it. This discrepancy 
is nowhere more sharp than in India; this truth is at once the 
measure of the community’s distress and the promise of its solu- 
tion. The pressure of facts over against the inadequacy and dis- 
tortion of emotions and ideas seems already to be eliciting not 
merely anguish but liberation. 

The vicious circle has certainly not yet stopped spinning. Given 
the external situation constituted by the triangle of Hindus, 
Pakistan, and past history, Indian Muslims cannot but feel in- 
secure. And their internal insecurity is precisely the chief factor 
in their failure to come to terms with their actual situation; their 
fleeing from it, emotionally and intellectually (and literally, when 
the occasion arises; to Pakistan). 

For instance, we have seen that one of the basic w^eaknesses of 
the minority’s position in India has resided in its tie with Pakistan. 
Yet it is that very weakness that has made the community on the 
whole unwilling to cut that tie. Unwilling, rather— or unable — 
to recognize that in fact it has already been cut. The more insecure 
its position, the more desperately it has felt impelled to hold 
tightly to its outside relationship, while it is that outside relation- 
ship that most vitiates its position in India. 

Similarly, although Khaliqu-z-Zaman’s or Josh’s or Anis’s fleeing 
to Pakistan bedevils the position of those who stay, this very fact 
can be (and has been) interpreted as an increased reason for 
(rather than against) the next man’s fleeing. The abject devasta- 
tion to which the Rizakar-®'^ venture led, could — and did — mean 
that many of the Hyderabad Muslims, suffering for that calamity, 

26 a For tire Rizakar and their part in the 1948 troubles see the article cited 
above, chap, s, ref. 19; cf. also chap. 8 at p. 90. 

2T9 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

fell prey to still greater despair, still less willingness to strive for 
normality, still less ability to take responsibility for constructive 
cooperation. The intelligentsia there has showed little endeavour 
to struggle towards a revision of attitudes and concepts that would 
more adequately handle modern life.®’ 

The logic of sanity could mean but little in such a condition. 
The emotions have been profound and pervasive, the concepts 
deeply ingrained. 

Despite all this, the situation has in fact steadily improved. Of 
the two trends, the one towards despair dominated for only three 
or four years. During the ’fifties there has been a gradual libera- 
tion. And as we have suggested, this development seems to us to 
give promise eventually of memorable attainment. For events 
themselves have been severely, indeed mercilessly, pressing home 
their lesson. Not the illogicality of the false interpretations but 
their repeatedly and cumulatively disastrous consequences in prac- 
tice, have been forcing a reassessment. And on the positive side, 
the constructive quality of concrete achievements, the welfare and 
progress actually emerging from new and bold hypotheses, have 
begun to tell. 

It is our conviction that the welfare of the Muslim community 
in India, both mundane and spiritual, lies in its standing on its 
own feet, under God, recognizing and accepting its situation in 
India, and recognizing and accepting responsibility for its own 
destiny in that situation; able to trust others and itself, and freely, 
honestly, and creatively participating in the life of the new nation. 

It is our observation that it has moved in this direction during 
the past five years — despite all troubles. Of the various factors 
contributing to this move, the chief has been the success of secu- 
larism. That success has, of course, been partial; yet basic. The 
Muslims have seen law and order prevail, have seen the police 
prevent riots against themselves, have watched the secular state 
restraining triumphant Hindus from reconverting a mosque to 
a temple.®® In other words, they have found that they could live 
at peace with India, and were free to practice, and indeed to 
preach, their religion. Most Muslims in India seemed (1956) 

There are, of course, honourable exceptions. One example is Dr. Sayyid 
‘Abdu-l-LatIf, organizer and president of the Academy of Islamic Studies 
and its bold, pragmatic projects mentioned above, chap. 1, ref. 3. 

2® Cf. the Ajodhya mosque incident, Fazyabad, U.P. 

280 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

ready to admit that their condition has been better than they 
expected it to be. 

There has been more to it than survival. Some have been con- 
tent unconsciously to adjust themselves to survival, without 
analysis. Not much reflection has been needed, however, to realize 
that their survival and welfare depend squarely on the secularity 
of the state. The full theological implications of this are as yet 
far from worked out. But the sheer fact is striking that, whatever 
traditional theology may say, secularism works, and for Muslims 
is not a bugbear but a boon. Relatively few^® seem to have clung 
to the Islamic state idea. Whatever may be the merits or meaning 
of the concept in the abstract, most Indian Muslims have finally 
come to recognize that for them in the present situation it is 
irrelevant and damaging. 

The most stark realization in this matter came from the Hydera- 
bad collapse. As one Muslim put it, “When I heard of the action 
in Hyderabad, I wept for the Musalmans. Yet in the end, despite 
all their tragic suffering, Hyderabad was a good thing for the 
Muslims of India. It meant that the last flicker of hope for that 
kind of absurd fantasy died down — and convinced them that they 
must face realities of life as they exist." 

Such recognition has been furthered by the realization, as 
communications between the two countries improved, that Paki- 
stan too is no utopia. Just as it has gradually become clear that 
things in India are not so bad, so also it has begun to filter through 
that in Pakistan they are not so good. And some, at least, are 
honest enough to acknowledge that they as a minority in India 
have in both theory and practice a better status than the minority 
in the neighbouring Islamic republic. 

On the positive side, joint electorates in practice have demon- 
strated to at least some members of the community the meaning of 
national politics, and the meaning of human rather than com- 
munal categories. The ability of independent Muslims to win 
municipal elections in the U.P. against Congress candidates in 
Hindu-majority constituencies®" could hardly fail to educate. Simi- 

20 An exception is the Jama‘at-i IslamI, related to the Pakistan organization 
of the same name under Mawdudi; cf. above, chap. 5, pp. 233-36, at ref. 
26. Cf. also below, p. 284. 

30 At Saharanpur, a Muslim was elected chairman of the municipal council 
against a Congress opponent, by an electorate more than half Hindu. 

281 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

larly the participation of Muslims in the national elections of 
1951, with their vote helping to rout the Hindu communalist 
parties, was a significant experience. 

In the 1950’s the nationalist Husayn Ahmad Madani, pronounc- 
ing India to be the nation of its Muslims, had provoked from the 
poet Iqbal a scornful retort in poetry insisting that a Muslim can 
have no nation but Islam.®’^ The emotion and conviction that 
Iqbal expressed have sunk deep into the Muslim’s being (and 
found there a response resting on traditions centuries old), yet 
recent events have at least started to dislodge them. 

And even Muslim-League-type newspapers, it is said, con- 
demned Anis and Josh when they fled the country. 

For a good while after 1947 many Indian Muslims continued 
the long-standing custom of looking for salvation or at least sup- 
port to an outside source. The tendency in the past to lean on the 
British, on pan-Islam, on the native princes, reappeared in a 
readiness to look to Pakistan, the United Nations, even conceiv- 
ably the U.S.S.R. or some unknown deus ex machina, to salvage 
the community from its difficulties. And there was a submerged 
hope if not expectation that the situation might suddenly be 
redeemed by God, conceived in exteriorist rather than imma- 
nent terms. These tendencies too were inhibited by the course of 
events. 

A failure of self-reliance took perhaps its most obvious form in 
a resigned dependence on the Hindus. The majority has been 
manifestly dominant, their goodwill crucial to the minority’s 
welfare. Many Muslims accordingly, even after they might have 
outgrown fear and the sense of inevitable enmity, tended to be 
passive, simply waiting for and hoping for that goodwill. They did 
not move forward to the next step, of taking on themselves the 
responsibility of discerning, and the task of actively strengthen- 
ing, such forces within the country — political, economic, ideologi- 
cal, institutional, and other — as would push men away from inter- 
communal discord and towards goodwill and harmony. However, 
even here the actual situation has been hardly static enough for 

Cf. the poem “IJusayn Ahmad” in [Muhammad] Iqbal, Armughdn-i 
Hijdz, Lahore, 1938; in the Lahore, 1948, ed., p. 278. There was correspond- 
ence both private and in the Lahore daily Ihsdn, some of which has been 
collected in the pamphlet Namrlyah’-i Qawmiyat: Mawldnd Ifusayn Ahmad 
Sdhib Madam wa 'Alldmah Iqbdl, Dera Ghazi Khan, n.d. 

282 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

passivity; the dynamics of freedom and democratic interplay has 
encouraged participation. 

For there is, finally, and not unimportant, the straightforward 
fact that the Indian Muslim is a citizen of India. This is no small 
matter in the modern world. Despite stupendous problems, India 
would seem to be embarked on one of the world’s great ventures 
of our day, in economic, technical, social, and cultural progress. 
It is true that the Muslim community’s perhaps biggest problem 
is to be able to take part economically in this advance. Whether 
through Hindu prejudice or Muslim backwardness, Muslim eco- 
nomic participation has been precarious. As long as there is un- 
employment, the Muslim’s chance of being the one unemployed 
is discouragingly high. Insofar as this can be solved, the expansion 
of India will carry the Muslims with it. 

All in all, then, the development of events has served to promote 
among Muslims in India a tendency towards coming to grips at 
fairly close range witli the realities of modern life. 

The Problems of Progress 

The denouement of affairs has worked to shatter false answers 
to modern challenges. The elaboration of satisfactory answers, 
however, must be the work of creative individuals. The ground is 
ready for such seed as they may sow. There has already been evi- 
dence of some serious and intelligent grappling with the intel- 
lectual and spiritual issues. It nonetheless remains the consensus 
that leadership is still sorely needed in hammering out, and illus- 
trating in personal commitment, new interpretations of Islam that 
will be relevant and adequate to the community’s present-day 
problems. If the abandonment of the old disruptive prejudices 
were not accompanied by the positive emergence of a constructive 
new version of Islam, the community would be left rudderless in 
a troubled sea. 

On the political plane the chief lead has, of course, been given 
by the Muslim nationalists, men who before 1947 advocated par- 
ticipation by the Muslim community within the total complex of 
Indian nationalism (specifically, the Congress party). These men 
since partition and independence have continued that platform 
within the severely modified framework of the new day: for the 
shrunken community within a shrunken India. As an individualist 
solution this programme has in several cases worked well. From 

28^ 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

the point of view of the community as a whole, however, it is clear 
that the matter cannot be solved purely in political terms. 

On the formally religious level, two principal lines have been 
put forward. The less important has been that of the Jama‘at-i 
Islami, which maintains its link with the Pakistan movement of 
the same name (under Mawdudi). This group is still able to 
arouse some enthusiasm but surely little hope on the basis of giv- 
ing an essentially traditional religious content to the political and 
social attitude of the “two-nation theory.” The programme pro- 
pounded is in process of being modified to take account of the 
new political situation. Their chief organ has been Zindagi 
(Rampur). They have the advantage of emotional continuity with 
the past and of courageous commitment. Yet the community, as 
we have argued above, seems less and less likely to be won over 
to an interpretation that, however plausible in itself, has proven 
so disruptive in practice, so out of touch with the moral as well 
as socio-political demands of the day. Of course, if progressive 
liberalism in general should seriously falter in the country, and 
secularism collapse, so that among the majority Hindu comrau- 
nalism in exclusive arrogance should triumph, then it is perhaps 
not impossible that this revived Islamic comraunalism might well 
be the form in which the Muslims would participate in India’s 
disintegration. 

The more constructive lead has been that of the Jam‘iyatu- 1 - 
‘Ulama’. This organization of the traditional clerics has been 
vigorously Indian-nationalist for forty years. After 1947 it plunged 
forward with renewed confidence and even semi-official support, 
to hammer home the thesis that Indo-Muslim welfare lay in na- 
tionalist policies. Though explicitly not a political body (Muslim 
political parties as such being disallowed), their leaders have been 
national political figures as members of Parliament and even 
holding cabinet office. Besides, as a religious body they have had 
an organizational network reaching into the villages and across 
the country. Their chief organ has been the Urdu Azily Al-J am' iy at 
(Delhi). 

They have been able to give also a theological basis for their 
political platform, or at least to cast it in a specifically Islamic 
form. They use the concept of mu'ahadah, mutual contract, de- 
rived from the first few years of Islamic history in Madinah when 
the Prophet established a civic contract between his Muslim group 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

and the Jews in that city. Their thesis^^ is that the Muslims and 
non-Muslims have entered upon a mutual contract in India since 
independence, to establish a secular state. The Constitution of 
India, which the Muslim community’s elected representatives®^ 
unanimously supported and to which they swore allegiance, repre- 
sents this mu'ahadah. The specifically Islamic duty of the com- 
munity within India now, in their eyes, is to keep loyalty to the 
Constitution and to work out within the national life, as an 
acknowledged minority with the larger society, such personal and 
social aspects of the total Islamic pattern as can be directly imple- 
mented in this situation, and such socio-economic-administrative 
aspects as they can democratically persuade the whole nation to 
adopt. 

To the significance of these concepts we shall presently return. 
Meanwhile it must be noted that this group suffers two disabilities. 
One is perhaps best described as their being somehow out of 
touch, or at least being felt to be out of touch, not only with the 
emotions and aspirations of the Muslim League movement — 
which of course they rejected — but also with the deep inner 
loyalties of the community on which those emotions and aspira- 
tions were wrongly built. Perhaps more important is the second 
fact: that the ‘ulama’ in general, though politically realistic and 
their leaders highly intelligent men, are not educated in moder- 
nity. They therefore cannot give a lead in the community’s other 
great task, that of coming to terms with that modernity. 

We turn then to the cultural level. So many of the intelligentsia 
departed to Pakistan that only a handful remained. The lead 
given by some of these has been concerned chiefly with the major 
question of a synthesis within Indian culture in which Islamic 
culture would function integrally, rather than either keeping 
aloof or being ignored or crushed. Historical perspective and 
intellectual substance have been given to this by such writers as 
Humayun Kabir and ‘Abid Husayn.®^ This question is currently 

32 As expounded to the present writer personally by a group of party 
leaders, particularly Mawlana Hifzu-r-Rahman; Delhi, March, 1956- 

33 In the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution and adopted 
it, the Muslim members were communally elected, from pre-partition days. 

3 *Cf. Humayun Kabir, Our Heritage, Bombay, 1946; London edition, 
India's Heritage, 1947; 3rd Indian ed^, revised and enlarged, The Indian 
Heritage, Bombay, 1955, Cf. Sayyid ‘Abid Husayn, Hindustani Qawmlyat 
awr Qawml Talizlb, Delhi, 3 volL, 1946; abridged and revised ed., in Urdu, 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 


symbolized in the important issue of language; whether the nation 
will make Hindi its ‘national’ language in such a way as to ex- 
clude rather than to cherish but transcend Urdu; and whether 
Urdu-speaking and -reading Muslims will see Hindi as an alterna- 
tive to their own language, something either to be resisted or 
before which to succumb, rather than learning it as their edu- 
cated have learned English, an additional tongue for wider par- 
ticipation. 

The language question is, however, but one element of a wider 
and perhaps deeper issue. — as ‘Abid Husain, for instance, despite 
his concentration on that element, recognizes and boldly treats. 
We turn then to our fundamental concern, the religious ques- 
tion — the Indo-Muslim emergence within the ongoing history of 
Islam. We may repeat our suggestion of the possibility that Indian 
Islam may prove in the next fifty years more creative than Pak- 
istani. If this proves so, it will not be because such creation is easy. 
On the contrary, it is agonizing. If it comes it will result from the 
stark difficulty of the community’s more manifest involvement in 
the problems of modernity and a wider world. 

For the issues go deep. Here as elsewhere the Muslims are con- 
fronted with the general task of reconciling their faith to moder- 
nity. In addition, here they have their special minority status. We 
have noted the Jam‘iyatu-l-‘Ulama’ ’s position on this matter. It 
has yet to be seen whether this will prove acceptable or fruitful. 
To us, the historical parallel does not seem close. 

The question of political power and social organization, so 
central to Islam, has in the past always been considered in yes-or- 
no terms. Muslims have either had political power or they have 
not. Never before have they shared it with others.^^ 

Nor are they willing to share it with others today in Pakistan, 


1956 (not available to the present writer), and in English: S. Abid Husain, 
The National Culture of India, Bombay, 1956. 

35 In the case of the Madinah Jews with whom the original mu'dhadah 
was established, power was not really shared; it was an agreement for each 
community to live its own life, rather than for the two to participate in con- 
structing a life in common. In modern times there is the instance of Lebanon, 
an independent republic since 1946; the Christians formally constitute a 
majority, so that for the Muslim community there is a parallel with India, 
though on a minute scale. Yet the problems are serious and unsolved. There 
are also new countries such as Burma, where the tiny Muslim minorities are 
politically in quite a flourishing situation. These, however, seem too minor to 
damage our point seriously. 


286 




INBIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

even with a small minority.'”’ To the question, “Can Muslims be 
fully Muslims without a state of their own?,” both Indian and 
Pakistan Muslims recently said “No!” — with resounding assur- 
ance. If our analysis of the main development of Islam over the 
centuries has approximated at all to validity, this negative answer 
has behind it a great weight of traditional faith. Close to the 
heart of Islam, as we have seen, has been the conviction that its 
purpose includes the structuring of a social community, the organi- 
zation of the Muslim group into a closed body obedient to the 
Law. It is this conception that seems finally to be proving itself 
inept in India. 

What has been thought part of the meaning of the eternal norm, 
turns out to be irrelevant if not incriminating in the actual situa- 
tion. It is not merely that the imperative is impractical. That has 
often happened, and can more or less be taken in one’s stride. That 
an ideal is unrealized, even for the moment unrealizable, is not 
in itself disruptive; as we said in the Arab case, religious people 
can live with their dreams unfulfilled. It is when the ideal seems 
to become meaningless, the dream insignificant or obstructive, 
that trouble descends. Religiously one can cope with historical 
developments that are an obstacle to the realization of one’s ideal, 
more easily than with an ideal that is clearly an obstacle to one’s 
historical development. 

Muslim communities have been conquered in the past. But 
then the conqueror is there, to take, as it were, the blame. And 
conquest may be regarded as temporary: the Muslim under others’ 
control may hope or strive for freedom. The Indian Muslims 
already have freedom — which is precisely their dilemma. And 
they can neither hope nor strive for a change in their situation. 

A few romantics, clinging to the past, may dream of the reestab- 
lishment of Muslim rule over India. But this is unrealistic not 
only mundanely, as is all too obvious, but spiritually. For it would 
surrender justice to a comfortable pleasure. Some in desperation 
m ay accept as solution the idea of being ruled by Hindus, giving 
up their own freedom and choosing to regard themselves as a de- 
feated community. This escapes responsibility, and allows self- 
pity; it would constitute, of course, not only mundane deteriora- 

so Whether the Muslims of Pakistan will be willing to have a joint dector- 
ate with the Hindu minority, who want it, is until the time of writing un- 
dedded. Pressure against it is strong from the religious groups. 

2 S’] 


INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

tion but self-inflicted inner spiritual disaster. The situation is 
challenging, and demands a transcending of the traditional cate- 
gories of ruling or being ruled. 

The position is different from that of the Muslim group within, 
say, the Soviet Union. They too are a minority within a vast non- 
Muslim domain. But they are not joint rulers; they do not partici- 
pate in the choice and responsibility of the course of events. The 
Indo-Muslims’ position differs also from that of the Turks, who 
have chosen a secular state of their own free will. The Turks have 
decided that the best way for a Muslim community, or anyway 
for their Muslim community, to live in the modern world is in a 
lay republic. This is their own decision, and their communal life 
is their own implementation of that decision. The group that 
constitutes the lay republic is Muslim. 

The Muslims of India in fact face what is a radically new and 
profound problem; namely, how to live with others as equals. This 
is unprecedented; it has never arisen before in the whole history 
of Islam. It raises the deepest issues both of the meaning of man’s 
being and of social morality. It raises the deepest issues of the 
significance of revelation, truth, and the relation to other peoples’ 
faith. Yet it is a question on which the past expressions and doc- 
trines of Islam offer no immediate guidance. And it is, of course, in 
this particular case immensely complicated by the discouraging 
fact that the caste Hindus, with whom they must live, have not 
yet learned to live with others either. 

The problem is difficult — so difficult that in one sense the rise 
of Pakistan may be seen as an attempt to avoid having to face it. 
However, the present Indian-Muslim community, for whom that 
hope of evading it was bitterly illusory, and for whom it was made 
vastly more difficult by the rise of Pakistan, cannot escape it. 

The relation between Islam and democracy is a question faced 
in our day most conspicuously by the Muslims of Pakistan, but 
most searchingly by the Muslims of India. That Islam implies 
democracy is a claim that has been put forward repeatedly by the 
Muslims in this century; often glibly, and with little sensitivity to 
the vast responsibilities that ensue. Of course, any religion implies 
democracy in so far as it is true, compelling the recognition of 
personal worth, freedom, responsibility, and involvement. But the 
distance between abstract eternal truth at this level and the crea- 
tion on earth of an effectively operating fraternity is not negligible. 


288 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

Historically, democracy is very new to Muslims; it is new also to 
Hindus, and indeed has yet largely to be created. In fact, demo- 
cracy is new in the world. The long struggle in the West to attain 
such partial embodiments of it as have as yet been reached there, 
and the long path still to travel before fuller realizations are 
established, must be borne in mind with the complexities and 
particularities and traditions of both India and Pakistan in any 
consideration of present developments or future prospects. The 
drama of the move towards democracy in India since 1947 is cer- 
tainly exciting, and the possible future role of the Muslim com- 
munity in that drama is one of moment. 

In Pakistan the attitude of Muslims to minorities is the test of 
sincerity and comprehension; in India, that to the majority and 
total nation. To what degree and in what forms and with what 
ideological bases will Indian Muslims set themselves to working 
for the welfare of the whole Indian community? Hotv will they 
visualize the material and spiritual welfare of Indian Islam as 
integrated with the activity and loyalty of non-Muslim Indians? 

These questions are not easy. As we said previously, Muslims in 
1947 tried to flee from them. An Indian Muslim is both an Indian 
and a Muslim. The desperate attempt to deny or reject this duality 
has failed. An attempt to integrate the two has hardly yet been 
seriously put forward. Some individuals have of course succeeded 
in being both, and some have prospered. But the meaning of Is- 
lamic faith in the life of an Indian as a modern secular minority 
democrat has yet to be construed and expressed. Previous Mus- 
lims throughout the centuries have enunciated Islamic answers 
to situations quite other, not to this. The Muslim community in 
India stands alone, must solve its own problems — including funda- 
mental problems of theology, law, and morals. 

In this necessity of reaching out to new interpretations, appre- 
hending the imperatives of today, the Indian Muslim has one 
advantage of major proportions: intellectual freedom. Probably 
nowhere in the Islamic world, perhaps not even in Turkey, is a 
Muslim so free as in India to put his mind honestly and earnestly 
to religious problems, to speak fearlessly, and to publish what he 
writes. Elsewhere, particularly in Pakistan and the Arab world, 
official censorship on the one hand and, doubtless more important, 
the unceasing pressure of fear and the (often hypocritical) forces 
of social conservatism and vested prejudice, preclude open dis- 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

cussion. In India, however, anyone who has anything to say, no 
matter how traditional or novel, how radical or constructive, may 
say it. Not only the pressure of obviously unsolved Muslim prob- 
lems but the absence of national Islamic policy and of all official 
Muslim institutionalism encourage liberty. This is undergirded 
by the long tradition of cultural creativity, and buttressed by the 
deep tradition of tolerance in India and the penetration of liber- 
alism during the British period. 

Here as in other Muslim areas, the relation between religion 
and the modern world cannot be constructively worked out until 
the determination is firm to see the modern world with full and 
hard, close clarity. The willingness to face reality is, as always, 
requisite. The final wisdom is to know God; the beginning of 
wisdom is to face facts, to see them as they are. 

Also needed is the willingness to admit that there are problems 
waiting to be solved. This awareness has been rare in recent 
Islam, which has tended to believe that problems have been solved 
already. That the answers have somehow, somewhere, been given, 
and do not have to be worked out fresh with creative intelli- 
gence — this idea has deeply gripped, almost imprisoned, the 
minds and souls of many Muslims. The Qur’an has been regarded 
as presenting a perfected pattern to be applied, rather than an 
imperative to seek perfection. Islamic law and Islamic history 
have been felt to be a storehouse of solutions to today’s difficulties, 
to be ransacked for binding precedent, rather than a record of 
brave dealing with yesterday’s difficulties, to be emulated as 
liberating challenge. Religion has seemed to confine behaviour, 
rather than to inspire it. 

The fundamental fallacy of Muslims has been to interpret 
Islam as a closed system. And that system has been closed not only 
from outside truth, but also from outside people. The funda- 
mental hopefulness about Indian Muslims, and therefore Indian 
Islam, is that this community may break through this. It may be 
forced to have the courage and humility to seek new insights. It 
may find the humanity to strive for brotherhood with those of 
other forms of faith. 

This significance is surely major, not only for the community 
itself, and of course for India (which needs the loyalty and con- 
structive energy of all its elements), but indeed for the whole 
Islamic world. For despite its apparent isolation, the Indo-Muslim 


2^0 



INDIA: ISLAMIC INVOLVEMENT 

group is representative of the total community, and even of all 
mankind, in two of its important problems. One, the need to ad- 
vance, it shares with all the Muslim world. The other is more 
especially its own. Pakistan symbolizes and sums up one of the 
great demands on Islam in the modern world: the transmutation 
into contemporary idiom of the theme of social justice. Islam in 
India symbolizes and sums up the other: the need to construct 
relations with outsiders. We have said that the Indian group’s 
situation is unique among Muslim communities. This is true in 
that it alone of those separate communities faces modern life 
from the particular standpoint of an outnumbered yet free group. 
Yet all Muslims taken together are in fact in a comparable situa- 
tion within mankind. The relative independence of civilizations 
has in our day died. Each of man’s cultures is called upon today to 
evolve a new ingredient: compatibility. The West has perhaps 
most to learn in this regard, but no civilization is exempt. In the 
past civilizations have lived in isolation, juxtaposition, or conflict. 
Today we must learn to live in collaboration. Islam like the 
others must prove creative at this point, and perhaps it will learn 
this in India. 

For the Indo-Muslims are in India what the total Muslim group 
is in the world: an important minority. They have their own 
heritage, their own values, their own hopes for the future. But 
their problems they share with the rest of us. They have their own 
role to play but it is a role that must be integrated within a larger 
complex of diversity, constituted in part by other men, more 
numerous and perhaps more powerful, with other values and 
with other roles. The future of the Muslims in India, like the 
future of the Muslims and indeed of all groups in the world, de- 
pends upon their own inner resources and faith and creativity, and 
their outward relations with their fellow men. 



OTHER AREAS 

Islam is in principle a universal religion, and its followers are 
to be found here and there throughout the world. For instance, a 
small community in Canada has a mosque in Edmonton. In the 
Philippines four per cent of the population are Muslims. In Yugo- 
slavia the percentage is eleven; in Albania it is over fifty. 

In a study of tbe present kind it is perhaps legitimate to have 
omitted consideration of these kinds of group, since our entire 
survey is synoptic, and perforce general. However, there are other 
sections of the Islamic world that ought definitely to be included 
in any survey no matter how general. These are Indonesia (along 
with Pakistan the largest Muslim society on eartM), Iran, and the 
three great minorities (China, the U.S.S.R., and Negro Africa). 
These are major elements in the total picture, and there is an 
inevitable distortion if due consideration is not accorded them.® 

The present writer is not competent to discuss developments in 
these areas adequately. This is a compelling reason for omitting 

^The Muslim population of Indonesia and that of Pakistan are so close 
in number that there has been uncertainty as to which is greater at a given 
time. The 1951 census of Pakistan gave 64,959,000 (Government of Pakistan, 
Karachi, Census Bulletin No. 2, Census of Pakistan, ip$i; population accord- 
ing to religion [Table 6], Karachi, 1951, p. 1). The figure for Indonesia given 
in Plarry W. Hazard, Atlas of Islamic History, Princeton, 3rd ed., rev., 1954, 
pp. 5 and 40, is 71,100,000 as an estimate for 1953; for that date tiazard’s pro- 
jection for Pakistan is 71,500,000. There has been no census in Indonesia since 
1930, For a detailed world survey of Islam see the handbook Louis Massignon, 
ed., Annuaire dii monde musuhnan, statistique, historique, social et iconomi- 
que, 4 th ed., Paris, 1955. 

2 There is also Afghanistan. The writer is unfortunately not informed 
enough about it even to be able to place it, not knowing whether it is Is- 
lamically distinctive and creative enough to be included not in the first group 
mentioned above but as a separate unit for detailed study. The section 
“Religion” (G. Morgenstierne) in the recent article Afghanistan in the new 
ed. of The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden, 1955, comprises only two brief 
paragraphs. In Mohammed Akram, Bibliographic analytique de V Afghanistan, 
Paris, 1947, there is a section “Vingtibme si^cle,” pp. 331-51, under “Histoire"; 
there is a brief article of Donald N. Wilber, "Structure and Position of Islam 
in Afghanistan,” The Middle East Journal, Washington, 6:41-48 (195s). The 
chapter “Religion,” pp. 391-404 in the latter (ed.), Afghanistan, and the 
relevant sections of his Annotated Bibliography of Afghanistan, both New 
Haven, 1956, add but little to these. 


2p2 



OTHER AREAS 


them, but an unsatisfactory one. It seems therefore important to 
call attention to the omission and to the consequent inevitable 
distortion. Among the other serious inadequacies of our treat- 
ment this also must take its place. 

The lacuna is the more serious in that, except for Iran, it has 
been characteristic also of others. There has in the past been too 
great a readiness to equate the Islamic world with the Near East. 
This equation is already several centuries out-of-date, and may 
perhaps become even less tenable in the future. It will certainly 
need radical revision if Indonesia and Pakistan evince vitality. 
It is even a possibility to be borne in mind that the centre of 
gravity of the Islamic world may in our day be shifting from the 
shores of the Mediterranean to those of the Indian Ocean. In any 
case, one must stress the bigness of the whole community, far 
transcending its original and classical homelands, and extending 
south into Africa and north-east, east, and south-east into and 
through Asia. It is much too early yet to say that the future of 
Islam, like the later history of Christianity, may not be signifi- 
cantly in its newer worlds. 

The great minority segments are constituted by the twenty-five 
million Muslims in the Soviet Union,= a similar or perhaps slightly 
greater number in China,^ a roughly comparable Muslim popula- 
tion in Negro Africa.^ These groups are interesting enough in 


8 The figure is uncertain; estimates vary from so to 30 million. We know of 
no study specifically of the religious situation, though several works deal with 
it inter alia. See, for instance, a basic recent work on this group, Vincent 
Monteil “Essai sur I’lslam en U.R.S.S.,” Revue des etudes islamiques, Paris, 
20:5-145 (1952); and '‘Supplement i I'essai sur I'Islam en U.R.S.S.," ibid., 
2t!5"37 (1953)’ ^l®o earlier articles in the same journal. Among earlier works 
GeAard von Mende, Der nationale Kampf der RusslandtUrken, Berlin, 1936, 
is significant. Of recent articles in English, note Richard E. Pipes, Muslims 
of Soviet Central Asia: Trends and Prospects,” The Middle East Journal, 
Washington, 9:147-62, 295-308 (1955): id., "Russian Moslems before and 
after the Revolution,” in Waldemar Gurian, ed., Soviet Imperialism: its 
orinns and tactics, Notre Dame, 1953, pp. 75-89- 

4 See Claude L. Pickens, Jr., Annotated Bibliography of _ Literature on 

Islam in China, privately printed, Hankow. 1950 (a revised edition is 
currently in process for New York publication). , 1 

5 Calculating from the figures given in Hazard, op. cit., the Muslim popula- 
tion of the Sudan and non-Arab Africa is 33.6 millions. We know of no 
survey of Islam as a religion throughout this wide area. There is a consider- 
able literature on Islam in the various parts piecemeal, chiefly in English and 
French for the British and French colonies respectively. Of more recent works, 
one may mention the series begun by J. Spencer Trimingham (and perhaps 


293 


OTHER AREAS 


themselves, and important in many connections. It is true that 
they have in modern times contributed less to each other and to 
the major communities, and thus to the total dynamic of world 
Islam, than have the half-dozen major communities. It seems quite 
probable that they will for a time continue to contribute less. 
Nonetheless, they are not without importance. Two of them are 
in Communism, and hence somewhat cut off from the rest of the 
Muslim world, as from the rest of the non-Communist world gen- 
erally. Their present condition is intricately enmeshed in the 
situation of the Soviet Union and that of the new China, and their 
short-run future is in part a question of the highly problematic 
destinies of those states. In the Chinese case, the Muslims are 
scattered throughout the country, are nowhere in a compact ma- 
jority, and have never been in political control. In the Soviet 
Union, on the other hand, the Turkic republics are solidly Mus- 
lim areas that were once major centres of Islamic power and 
culture. It is perhaps no small matter, especially from a religious 
point of view, that part of the Muslim world is within the Commu- 
nist domain, even though much more attention is still given to the 
fact that part is still under Western domination. 

So far as Africa is concerned, we can say little beyond calling 
attention to the obvious fact that much is stirring within that 
continent, and noting that Islam is a major and dynamic factor 
in the situation. It would seem clear that indigenous African evo- 
lution at the present time is vastly affected by the energetic intru- 
sion of three civilizations or forces from the outside; the West, 
Communism, and Islam. 

These minority areas, though intrinsically important, are for 
the moment playing little role in the drama that is our over-all 
concern. In contrast stand Iran and Indonesia. For the purposes 
of this present study and the issues that relate to it, these two are 
major. Iran has, throughout Islamic history, played a conspicuous 
and relatively well-studied role, even though in modern times the 
religious aspect of its development has received less than its share 

still in process to give eventually a full coverage?): Islam in the Sudan, 
London and New York, 1949; Islam in Ethiopia, London and New York, 
1952; The Christian Church and Islam in West Africa, London, 1955. See also 
J. N. D. Anderson, Islamic Law in Africa, London, 1954 (this last, despite 
the title, deals only with the British colonies); and the same writer’s “Tropical 
Africa: Infiltration and expanding horizons” in Gustave E. von Grunebaum, 
ed.. Unity and Variety in Muslim Civilization, Chicago, 1955, pp. 261-83. 

294 



OTHER AREAS 


of attention. Some writing, however, has been done;® the present 
writer does not feel in a position at this point to add anything of 
significance to it. In the case of Indonesia, on the other hand, 
there has been a very serious disregard, both by Western students 
and, even more striking, by Muslims of other areas. The role of 
Islam in contemporary Indonesia, and of Indonesia in contempo- 
rary Islam, has still to be not only assessed but noticed. Even an 
elementary acquaintance makes it clear that here is Islamically 
something distinctive and fascinating and potentially very rich.'' 
Surely it will have to be increasingly recognized that the Indo- 
nesians constitute one of the cardinal communities of the Muslim 
world, ranking along with the Indo-Muslim, the Pakistani, the 
Persian, and Turkey and the Arab World. 

These six are the principal cultures that are the protagonists of 
contemporary Islam. It is they to whom Muslim development in 
our day is decisively entrusted. Each has its particular selfhood. 

e The most significant recent contributions in Western sources have been 
perhaps those of Ann K. S. Larabton and T. Cuyler Young. Of the former, see 
“The Spiritual Influence of Islam in Persia,” in A. J. Arberry and Rom 
Landau, edd., Islam To-day, London, 1943, pp. 163-77; “Persia,” in 
Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, London, 31:8-21 (1944)' Of the 
latter, see “Interaction of Islamic and Western Thought in Iran,” in T. Cuyler 
Young, ed.. Near Eastern Culture and Society, Princeton, 1951, pp. iS^--!?: 
and “The Problem of Westernization in Modern Iran,” The Middle East 
Journal, Washington, 2:47-59 (1948). See also the IJaydari thesis noted above 
at chap. 2, ref. 32. For earlier studies, cf. above, chap. 2, ref. iG. Of recent 
articles, one should perhaps mention also William McElwee Miller, The 
Religious Situation in Iran,” The Muslim World, Hartford, 41:79-87 (1951): 
and Richard N. Frye, “Notes on Religion in Iran Today," Die Welt des 
Islams, N.S. 2:260-66 (1953), though both are brief. One must add the 
section on Iran in Richard N. Frye, ed., Islam and the West, s-Gravenhage, 

’‘957’ PP- '79'97- 

r For instance, it would seem that the Indonesians, especially in Java, are 
the only Muslim group in the world today who have a strong and ancient 
indigenous liberalism. The place of women in Indonesian Muslim life is 
also striking (this is, for example, the only Muslim area_ that has never 
known the veil?). On other matters also, such as the relation between the 
religion and politics, Indonesian Muslims’ positions are of the greatest in- 
terest. Altogether there could be an argument, over against the widespread 
view that Indonesians are "poor Muslims," that on the contrary the rest of 
the Muslim world may well have something vital to learn from them, even 

religiously. . 

The present writer hopes that he may eventually have the opportunity to 
study developments in this area also. For a comprehensive, but uncritical, 
compilation of literature, chiefly Western sources, on Indonesian Islam, see 
above chap. 2, ref. 17. 

2f?5 



OTHER AREAS 


Each is an integral and significant component of the total pattern 
of present-day Islam. Among therri there is no gradation, no hier- 
archy, either of form or of spirit. No one of them is subordinate 
to another. Nor, indeed, with present independence, is any one 
subordinate even to the totality. They lead the whole; they are 
not led by it. 

, For the Islamic world today is not an organized unit, but rather 
a complex comprising these several distinct major communities, 
along with the various minor groups. It is constituted solely by 
their participation. The Islamic world is what they and others 
have made it in the past plus what they are now making it. Apart 
from them it has no separate existence of its own, no intrinsic 
reality; and since the abolition of the khildfah (1924), even no 
symbolic existence.® Its own destiny is a dynamic fusion of its past, 
the whole Islamic tradition, with its evolving present, the multi- 
farious developments of the several Muslim peoples today. 

Even that past tradition is now carried primarily within and 
by these several and separate peoples. Also, their participation, 
lively or feeble, in the larger complex of Islam is in each instance 
not something super-added but an integral aspect of that com- 
munity’s own current development. It therefore becomes almost 
fully true to say that the current history of Islam is the current 
history of its component parts. If the Islamic world is what they 
make it, in another sense it is what they make themselves. 

® On pan-Islam, cf. above, chap. 3, pp. 80-84. 


2p6 



CONCLUSION 


We stated in our opening paragraph that it was not within our 
intention or our competence to predict the future development 
of Islam. The survey that we have conducted thus far leaves these 
disclaimers intact. Yet if our survey has attained any success, if 
our descriptions and analyses have approximated at all to validity, 
then perhaps it has served to confirm our other opening judgement: 
that Islam will indeed have such future development, that the 
religion is alive and dynamic. Something is being brought to birth. 
The contemporary chapter of Islamic history we have tried all 
too fumblingly to decipher and to translate. It is an important 
chapter, of absorbing interest. Surely the next chapter, still to be 
enacted, will also be interesting and important. It will certainly 
be new. And our study will have achieved much of its purpose if 
it has at all clarified how crucially significant a question it is, just 
what line of development the Muslims will next he^v for Islam. 

Will they perhaps leave it as an ambiguous tradition, its ad- 
herents torn between a loyalty within and a world without — a 
loyalty that they cherish but do not know quite how to apply, and 
a world by which they find themselves surrounded but with rrhich 
they do not know quite how to cope? Or will they perhaps emo- 
tionalize it into a closed system, by which they retreat from moder- 
nity into a fanaticism of crippling isolationist violence? Or will 
they construe it into an open, rich, onward vision, an effective 
inspiration for truly modern living; bringing themselves spiritual 
integrity and fulfillment, and their societies progress, justice, and 
honour in the world? 

On questions such as these will turn, we believe, not only the 
religious but also the worldly welfare of the Muslim people. 
Mundane problems cannot be solved by men whose ideological 
and moral outlook is seriously inappropriate to their solution. 
At the very least it can hardly be gainsaid that the direction in 
which Islam moves is highly relevant to all other developments. 

Indeed, we believe that there is no more urgent or significant 
issue in the Muslim world today. For spiritual and moral matters 
this is obvious. For other matters also it is true. The economic, 
political, military, demographic, and other kinds of question that 

297 



CONCLUSION 


unrelentingly press on each of the various Muslim nations cannot 
be underestimated by anyone familiar with the area or concerned 
with the welfare of its people. It would be absurd to belittle these 
issues. Yet, we contend, none of them is more consequential than 
the religious question. Indeed, all go hand in hand. The various 
factors intertwine not only in jointly determining the progress of 
the Islamic world, but in determining each other. Not only is the 
modern history of Muslims not understandable if any one major 
factor, economic, Islamic, or the like, is ignored. The nature and 
development of any one factor is itself not understandable if the 
operation of the others is not grasped. 

In our consideration, therefore, of the Islamic factor, our at- 
tempted study of the modern evolution of the faith, we are per- 
force taking for granted as background the continuing evolution 
of Islam’s environment. This includes not only the local forces 
at work in each particular area, on some of which we have touched 
in the course of our study, while others have had to be presumed. 
It includes also the total context of our whole evolving world — the 
continuing newness of modernity for all mankind. An insistence 
on this at the beginning was one of the starting points of our 
whole investigation. We may well remind ourselves of it again as 
we close, since Islam in each area is at the same time one specific 
instance of Islam in the increasingly integrated and perplexing 
modern world as a whole. While Islam in each locality moves in 
conjunction with the life of its community, the world around 
persists in marching too. 

The massive certainties of the nineteenth century have given 
way to the bewildering complexity of the twentieth. The re- 
surgence of Asia has included the strenuous, gradual emancipa- 
tion of Asian countries from European political control, an 
emancipation by now almost but not quite complete. A radical 
modernity in living. Western in provenance, has shown a con- 
tinually expansive, determined, seemingly irresistible penetration 
of all areas, including the Muslim. In this process it would be 
difficult to overestimate how fundamentally involved the Islamic 
societies in fact are; in the cities psychologically and culturally, in 
all parts economically and administratively. Concomitant with it 
is a global interdependence, whereby the opportunity of a Paki- 
stan peasant to eat may depend on a decision made in Washington; 
or of any of us to live, on a decision in Geneva or Peking. The 

2p8 



CONCLUSION 


West, still mighty, still haughty, has itself been recently challenged 
and frightened by another society, a black sheep of its own family. 
Communism. In the case of Turkey and incipiently one or two 
others, this rather expansive society has been felt as a new and 
even more menacing external and internal threat. 

And so on and on. A great deal of recent Muslim history has 
been history of which the initiative lay with others, ineluctable 
developments to which Muslims could but react. Yet many of 
these originally outside forces have increasingly been interiorized 
in Asia, so that Muslims like others have come more and more to 
participate in them actively. Much of the ‘Westernism’ against 
which some Muslims used to protest is ceasing to be distinctively 
Western and is becoming simply a world-wide modernism in 
which for good or ill Muslims are involved. To reject it, to wish 
to be ‘left alone,’ becomes simply to dislike living in the twentieth 
century. 

Nonetheless, a great deal also of Muslims’ recent history has 
been, of course, a continuation of their previous history, in ways 
that are at least equally important, even if less spectacular and 
perhaps less clear to outside observers. 

It is in the interaction of these two with their human freedom 
that what is new in the Islamic world is being generated. 

One may also urge the enormous significance of the attainment 
of political freedom. With freedom, as has so often been noted, 
there is responsibility. We have noted a tendency to think of 
political emancipation negatively, in terms of getting rid of 
foreign control. This of course was important. Yet the obverse 
was the positive and much more telling matter of assuming re- 
sponsibility for one’s own destiny. Roughly since the Second 
World War, every major Muslim community in the world has 
been in charge of its own affairs— as effectively as is feasible in the 
kind of world in which we live. Muslims, like others, are not free 
from outside pressures, but they are as free as can be devised or 
even realistically imagined. What they now do and become is as 
close as possible to their own doing and being. The economic, 
political, social, cultural, and spiritual development on which they 
are now embarked constitutes a history that is Islamic history m a 
renewed, full sense. 

Freedom and responsibility, therefore, are within a context of 
determined circumstance. Some have spoken as if an Islamic 




CONCLUSION 


economic system were one that a Muslim community should or 
would adopt if it were isolated, were not enmeshed within the 
extant vortex of international commerce and world monetary 
exchange and dollar dominance and the like. Similarly for other 
aspects of social living. This approach is unfruitful; it is irrelevant 
on a large scale, as we noted on a small scale in the particular case 
of Islam in India. The form of internationalism may change; the 
fact of it is solid. To take the isolationist approach seriously would 
signify that Islam is irrelevant to the kind of world in which we 
all live. A truer recognition is surely that Muslims’ “independ- 
ence” will mean not isolation but renewed internal strength and 
a growing Islamic influence on the rest of mankind, as well as vice 
versa. Freedom is participation. A faith that is alive is a faith for 
men and societies that are involved. 

In this total context, then, the evolution of Islam is to be seen. 
In this total context, we are contending also that that evolution is 
fundamentally significant. Of all the multitudinous things that 
Muslims are experiencing and doing, the kind of faith that they 
are evolving is a matter neither isolated nor minor. 

Their whole contemporary enterprise is mighty: constructing 
a new life in mid- twentieth-century. To take on such a task is 
particularly formidable for those who for some centuries have 
been exempt from its responsibilities. The world has begun to 
recognize something of the fearsome magnitude of what is in- 
volved on the sheer ly material side: of suddenly attempting to 
catch up with “lost centuries” in the matter of building dams, 
organizing complex industry, rearing technical institutions, and 
the rest. What has been less clearly recognized is the equally 
monumental task on the religious and ideological side. It is also 
no slight matter to make up in this spheire for the loss of some 
centuries. One has yet to work out what is the meaning of religion 
in a new world that comprises dams and complex industry and 
technical institutions, and responsibility for them. The task might 
seem less major for those who wish to dichotomize life, keeping 
their ideals and their daily living in water-tight compartments. 
But it is not slight for a religion whose genius it is to apply its 
moral imperatives to day-to-day living, to wed the ultimate mean- 
ing of life to the society in which one participates, to seek justice 
in the midst of machines. 

We have suggested that the welfare of Islam, intellectual and 
500 



CONCLUSION 


spiritual, is widely and crucially important. It is important both 
spiritually and temporally primarily for the Muslims themselves 
— a thesis not so trite as might appear. For we may remind our- 
selves that Islamic civilization has been unitary, as ^ve stressed 
in our opening chapter, rather than dual, in the secular-religious 
fashion of Western civilization. In this connection it is perhaps 
worth noting that of man’s other great civilizations today, China, 
somewhat like the West, has been religiously and culturally 
plural; India, though transcendentally monistic, cherishes so far 
as this world is concerned a polymorphic monism. In all three, 
the religions concerned inherently recognize limitations; so that 
it is feasible in their case for the society to change without overtly 
involving religion. Not so for Islam. 

We do not rule out the possibility tliat Islam too will evolve 
in this direction. A case can, for instance, be made that Toynbee- 
esque divisions between civilizations are no longer valid, and that 
modern civilization, though it got under tvay first in the West, 
is spreading throughout the world and is transforming or super- 
seding older cultural patterns both West and East. Secularism, 
then, as indeed modernity in general, would be not a Western 
device but a new and universal one, which all civilizations are in 
process of assimilating. To illustrate this for Islam the Turkish 
instance could be cited — and even the instance of Pakistan, whose 
enthusiasm for an “Islamic” state might be seen as frothy but 
short-lived, soon routed under the shock of such developments as 
the 1953 riots. Similarly in Indonesia, secularism and Islamic- 
oriented policies could be seen as alternatives, with prognosis, or 
at least applause, in favour of the former. In this view, the 
mundane welfare of the Muslim peoples would seem to depend 
not on their interpretation of Islam but rather on social processes 
independent of religious consideration. 

We do not rule this out, since no one knows the future. Yet tve 
do contend that the development of Islam impinges also here. 
Secularism can be imposed by force of arms or by force of ciicum- 
stance, and there is evidence that in one or other of these ways 
it is increasingly being introduced throughout the modern Mus- 
lim world. Yet it must be religiously tolerated. Otherwise there 
develop severe strains within both society and the individual 
person, strains that shatter harmony and inhibit the effective 
operation of that very secularism to the point even of potential 

50/ 


CONCLUSION 


disaster. Whether a Caesar-God dichotomy will work in the Mus- 
lim world is itself a question to which the answer turns in large 
part on the interpretation of Islam. If Muslims on the whole 
resist it, then either they or it are doomed. 

Even if secularism flourishes, there are basic moral problems 
that remain. These tend to be overlooked by Western and West- 
ernizing secularists who would like to see Muslims, if not abandon 
Islam, at least relegate it to an unobtrusive corner of their living, 
and build their societies as liberal humanists. That the Islamic 
world would cease to be Muslim seems unlikely in the extreme 
— and could well be disastrous for both itself and the world. 
Further, it could be thought that Muslims, except perhaps in 
Turkey,^ are unlikely to become Western liberals or Western 

1 “The Ministry of Education regards the Humanities as the basis of present 
day civilization and has taken steps to promote these studies. Translations 
from Ancient Greek and Latin are being published regularly” — Hasan-Ali 
Yiicel, Minister of Education of Turkey, in his foreword to the official publica- 
tion EdMcation in Turkey, Ankara, n.d. [sc. 1946], p. iv. The same publication, 
pp. 8ifE., lists the works published and projected under the government’s 
“Translations from World Literature" project, enumerating translations of 
too Greek, 2? Latin, 18 Persian, 12 Arabian, 12 ancient and Far Eastern 
classics, and 629 “classics” from modern European languages. 

This is part of the Turkish resolve to be part of Europe. The leaders of 
the nation are deliberately introducing this literature into Turkish education, 
and one might say are aiming at incorporating its contribution into Turkish 
life. The effect on the language (and presumably, therefore, on thought) is, 
it would seem, already noticeable. The movement is an implementation of a 
definite decision in Turkey to become Western in civilization, and of a recog- 
nition that the roots of Western civilization and the continuing foundations 
of Western modernity is a humanism that is ultimately Graeco-Roman classi- 
cism. It is a recent fruition of a tendency that has been discernible since 
the early days of the Republic; for instance, Hiiseyin Cahit Yal^in personally 
translated many works, carrying forward what was begun by Ziya Gokalp, 
who was a member in 1923 of the Talim ve Terbiye Heyeti formulating such 
policies. On Gdkalp’s ideas on these matters, one remembers his famous triad 
of objectives, to be Turkish, Muslim, Western. “Why then should we still 
hesitate? Can’t we accept Western civilization definitely and still be Turks 
and Muslims?” And, as he concludes the article from which this quotation is 
taken, the “principle of our social policy will be this: to be of the Turkish 
nation, of the Islamic religion, and of European civilization” (“Medeni- 
yetimiz,” first published in Yeni Meemua, Istanbul, no. 68 [1923], reprinted 
in Turkgulu^iin Esaslari, Ankara, 1923 under the new title "Garbe Dogru” 
(“Towards the West”) — the English translation will be found in N. Berkes, 
ed., Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization: selected essays of Ziya 
Gokalp, forthcoming. Again: “The second set of models for our literature 
[after Turkish folk literature] are world classics, extending as far back as 
Homer or Virgil. The best models for a newborn national literature are 


502 



CONCLUSION 

humanists, or even secular liberal humanists in the specifically 
Western fashion. An uncharitable critic might even argue that the 
impatient expectation or insistence that they do so is in danger 
of seeming just as much an arrogance, a provincialism, and just 
as little likely to succeed, as the traditional Christian expectation 
or insistence that they become Christians. 

Our own view is that liberalism and humanism in the Muslim 
world, if they are to flourish at all, may perhaps be Islamic liberal- 
ism and Islamic humanism; or that in any case, some basis must 
be found for matters of this weight. 

Liberalism and humanism are profound movements in the 
Western world, deriving partly from Greece, partly from the 
Bible, and brought to fruition through the great upsurge in the 
eighteenth century with its willingness to suffer martyrdom, to 
effect revolutions, and to push strenuous creative intellect for this 
cause. Classical Arabic civilization adopted the rationalist tradi- 
tion of Greek philosophy and science up to a limited point,® but 
refused altogether the humanist tradition of Greek art and poetry; 
and that tradition never penetrated Muslim society. Again, reli- 
giously Islam repeats many of the basic doctrines of Christianity 
but not the humanist one; it rejected and still rejects with all the 

masterpieces of classical literature” — ^frora his ‘‘Edebiyatimizm Tahris ve 
Tehiihi,’'TiirkgUlu^iin Esaslari, Ankara, 1923, translated ibid. Perhaps in- 
tellectually as well as geographically this development is open only to Turkey 
among the Muslims? 

® But only to a point. The parallel between Muslim and Christian scho- 
lasticism has often been drawn, but there are major differences. Ibn Sina no 
doubt assimilated Aristotle, as did Aquinas. Yet Ibn Sina was a lonely figure; 
and was pronounced Kafir by Ghazzali (al-Munqidh min al'lf>alal: the 3rd 
$alibah and ‘Ayyad edition, Damascus, 1358/1939, pp. 88-89; English transla- 
tion in W. Montgomery Watt, The Faith and Practice of al-Ghazali, London, 
1953, p. 3s). Ghazzali, the greatest religious thinker of Islam, also wrote a 
major refutation of Hellenic philosophy. Sociologically, also, it would seem 
that the faldsifah in Islamic society transmitted the Greek tradition in but a 
narrow stream. Outside a few cities, and outside a tiny minority class even 
there, their ideas had virtually no influence. Even the peasant in Europe, 
each Sunday morning, was presented with a Graecized theology, in a distorted 
and distant fashion, no doubt, but the influence was there. In the Islamic 
world, theology itself was suspect — or, in the villages, ignored; it was the 
sharVah that met the villager from day to day. 

Indeed, it is interesting to speculate whether the whole spread of Islam 
in the Near East and its overthrow of Christianity may not be partially viewed 
as broadly a reassertion of the Semitic mind rejecting a religion that, being 
Hellenically interpreted, it could never quite appreciate. 




CONCLUSION 


force and even horror that it can muster the affirmation that God 
Himself can best be known in a human embodiment. A statue of 
Praxiteles, which seeks the perfection of beauty in the human 
form, and a doctrine of incarnation, which portrays God there, 
provide foundations on which the West could and did build a 
humanist movement but which are not immediately available to 
Islam. Humanism in the Muslim world need not have the same 
foundations. But if it is to have any at all it must find them, it 
would seem to us, either within Islam, or (if Islam is reinterpreted 
to make room for an alternative) from the West, or else from 
some source that is not immediately apparent.® 

In stressing the importance of ideas and moral values for the 
development of Islamic society, we are urging nothing unique. 
The ideological question is fundamental for Pakistan, for in- 
stance, not because it is Muslim. Because it is Muslim, its ideals are 
Islamic. For other nations, ideals take other forms. But for all 
of us, in any nation, the question of ideals is of utterly crucial 
practical importance — of ideals and their relation to immediate 
history. It is quite possible, and to outsiders obvious, that North 
America, despite its technological prowess, material affluence, and 
tolerably adequate political structure, may lead itself and the 
world to inconceivable disaster because of intellectual shallowness, 
moral obtuseness, or an inadequate vitality of its ideals. 

Indeed, the various intellectual and moral issues are today 
themselves internationalized. We would contend that a healthy, 
flourishing Islam is important not only for the Muslims but for 
all the world today. Some Western political and other leaders 
have seemed singularly blind to this. Some have apparently 
adopted in practice if not in theory the absurd as well as offensive 
doctrine that man lives by bread alone; or as the Marxists phrase 
it, everything depends on economic development. From their 
Asian policies, it would even appear that they believe also, as 
even the Marxists do not, that economic development can be 
treated in isolation. The West is slow in bringing to fruition its 
incipient realization that world peace and world progress depend 
on the progress of ideas and serious understanding — and in 
realizing that the Muslim segment of human society can flourish 
only if Islam is strong and vital, is pure and creative and sound, 

3 In Indonesia, exceptionally, it is immediately apparent: the indigenous 
tradition, especially Javanese. Cf. above, chap, y, ref. 7 . 


304 


CONCLUSION 


and only if there is an at least moderately happy relation with 
mutual understanding between it and the rest of man’s systems. 

Further, Christians also might well recognize this. Their tradi- 
tional interpretation of ideological dogmas has stood in the way 
of their perceiving otherwise obvious truths — that the spiritual 
welfare of Muslims lies in a spiritually strong and vital Islam, and 
that both love and duty demand a deep aspiration for this on the 
part of Christendom, and of all men of good will. It is a pro- 
foundly Christian fact that the significant realities in the Muslim 
world (as elsewhere) are ultimately God and men; and in this 
particular area Islam is the relation between them. The spiritual 
as well as the temporal future of the Muslims turns on whether 
Islam’s contemporary renascence or reform succeeds in bringing 
a renewed vitality and power to Muslim society; and its creative 
vision of God and Flis justice become for modern life, as for 
ancient, vivid and personal and deep in the lives of its individual 
adherents. 

These issues raise in one important and representative instance 
perhaps the crux of both Western civilization and Christianity: 
their relations with other men. The fundamental weakness of both 
in the modern world is their inability to recognize that they share 
the planet not with inferiors but with equals. Unless Western 
civilization intellectually and socially, politically and economi- 
cally, and the Christian church theologically, can learn to treat 
other men with fundamental respect, these two in their turn will 
have failed to come to terms with the actualities of the twentieth 
century. The problems raised in this are, of course, as profound 
as anything that we have touched on for Islam. They are, also, as 
consequential. Manifestly, they are outside the scope of this study, 
except in reminding us that all men today, Muslim or Christian, 
Oriental or Western, face questions that, though differing in form, 
are essentially comparable: the deepest questions for all of us today 
are those that involve us with each other. 

We return, then, to our contention that the present and future 
evolution of Islam is a matter of moment. Throughout our dis- 
cussion, we have spoken on the assumption that, within the limits 
imposed by circumstance, Muslims in religious matters as in all 
their evolution are free, that their handling of their faith depends 
on them. Man’s freedom raises deep questions, not all of which 
need be answered to let the argument proceed. It is a fact of ob- 


CONCLUSION 


servation that religious doctrines, institutions, and attitudes do 
have a history. There is development; there is flexibility. There 
is also stagnation. Muslims, like others, in the religious as in other 
realms, have at times broken through to great constructive innova- 
tions, bringing vitality and boldness to bear upon new challenges; 
at other times they have sunk back into unimaginative imitation, 
and at still other times into active degeneration. At the present 
time the flexibility, or at least uncertainty, is widespread and 
marked. 

The question, then, is real and meaningful as to what kind 
of Islam Muslims will next construct. To this the answer is not 
already given. Even those who believe that there is a specific 
answer that Muslims ought to give, may concede that it is far 
from certain whether or not they will actually give it. There is 
nothing irreverent in noting that the future of the Muslim 
peoples’ faith has still to be determined. 

Whatever one may believe about Islam’s transcendental essence, 
yet the earthly manifestation of Islam, both temporal and spirit- 
ual, is the creation of Muslims. Whether their activity in bringing 
the historical reality of their religion into renewed being is an 
activity that they perform with freedom, or act under the con- 
straint of God’s inscrutable and over-riding will, is a question that 
we may leave to an al-Ash‘ari.* The tendency in recent Islam has 
been to stress man’s freedom.® The present writer believes, as a 

<^Abu al-yasan ‘Ali al-Ash‘arI (260-334/873-935), the first Muslim to give 
forceful formulation in doctrine to his overwhelming sense of utter depend- 
ence upon God’s mercy — so utter that he intellectualized this in terms of a 
divine sovereignty uncomplicated by human initiative. Furthermore, like 
Calvin, he was systematic and ruthless enough in his logic to draw all rational 
conclusions from his formulation, however repugnant to other sensibilities 
they might be. We ourselves, while insisting that man is free, are persuaded 
of God’s activity in history, it being virtually tautologous to say that He 
is the source of all that is good in human as in other life. Only, we see His 
activity in history as channeled (and therefore circumscribed and even dis- 
torted) through man. 

® "There is . . . one moral-theological problem of classical Islam which has 
been, to some extent, reopened both by the modernists and the more pro- 
gressive Ulema and towards which both have shown similar trends, although 
their arguments liave differed widely. This is the problem of theistic deter- 
minism and free will of man. Here even the Ulema, while retaining the 
Koranic doctrine of God’s omnipotence, have mostly tended to emphasize 
human freedom” — F. Rahman, “Internal Religious Developments in the 
Present Century Islam,” in Cahiers d’histoire mondiale /Journal of World 
History, Paris, 2:870-71 (1955). 



CONCLUSION 


matter of warm personal conviction, of cool analysis, and of em- 
pirical observation, that man is free. In any case, man is respon- 
sible. 

This applies to all fields, though our particular concern is 
specifically religious. What the Muslim peoples now do in every 
phase of life will constitute Islamic history. What they do in 
spiritual matters will constitute the next stage in the development 
of the religion of Islam. 

We close, then, as we began: the relation between Islam and 
history has been close, and remains close. Islam as a developing 
process is that moving point within history at which the Muslim 
breaks through history to reach out towards what lies beyond.® 
Yet that point remains within history; history always colours it. 
The development of the rest of the historical process is closely 
intertwined with the very heart of the Muslims’ faith. And the 
development of the faith, we believe, bears crucially and will 
continue to bear on the rest of the temporal scene. That the rela- 
tion between faith and history is close, is confirmed both by 
doctrine and by observation. 

The devout (echoed in part by outside sceptics) may protest 
that Islam is fixed. For, a certain type of piety holds, it is given 
by God. 

Theologically, this bears consideration. It is a question of uni- 
versal import whether the religions are given by God (or any one 
religion is); or whether rather God gives Himself, while the reli- 
gions, as we know them, are man’s response. Man begins to be 
adequately religious only when he discovers that God is greater 
and more important than religion. Certainly, as we have seen, 
one can find modern Muslims rvhose loyalty to Islam as a tangible 
phenomenon seems greater than their faith in God. Like modern 
men in other cultures, these evince little apprehension of the 
living reality and power and personal engagement of the divine. 
Yet one may perhaps be not overly bold in surmising that the 
creative development of Islam as a religion on earth lies rather 
in the hands of those Muslims whose concern for the forms and 
institutions evolved in Islamic history is subordinate to their 
lively sense of the living, active God who stands behind the reli- 
gion, and to their passionate but rational pursuit of that social 

® Or, phrased more theologically: the point at which God breaks through 
to reach out to him. 



CONCLUSION 


justice that was once the dominant note of the faith and the 
dominant goal of its forms and institutions. 

If this be true today, it will repeat what has been true in Islamic 
history of the past. 

The human part from day to day has ever been, amid the din 
of life, to hear God’s message; to discern its meaning and to 
interpret it; and in a difficult and distracting and ever-changing 
world, to act. Whether more or less adequate, the Islam of history 
is the handiwork of Muslims. 

The Islam that was given by God is not the elaboration of 
practices and doctrines and forms that outsiders call Islam, but 
rather the vivid and personal summons to individuals to live their 
lives always in His presence and to treat their fellow men always 
under His judgement. 


INDEX 


The Arabic article al is so transcribed 
from Arabic. In Persian and Urdu com- 
pound names, however, the elision of its 
vowel in favour of the ending added to 
the preceding element, which is unin- 
flected, and the assimilation of its conso- 
nant to what follows, are here accepted. 
Osmanlt Turkish is romanized as in 
Republican Turkey. Indonesian names 
are rendered as in jnodern Indonesian; 
the contemporary and presumably in- 
creasing tendency to shift from Dutch to 
English patterns is here actively fa- 
voured. In multiple names and even 
compound names, the general rule is to 
enter under the final element if this is 
a name (provided it is not a name of 
God), A few cross-references have been 
added to be helpful. Diacriticals are ig- 
nored in alphabetizing. 

'Abbad ibn Sulayraan, i8n 
'AbbasT, 1640, iCg, i66n. See also Arabs, 
classical 

Abbott, Freeland, ag4n 
‘Abd al-Na^ir, Jamal al-Din, 76, iign, 
i57n 

‘Abd al-Raziq, al-Shaykh 'All, aggn 
‘Abduh, al-Shaykh Mubaramad, 56, 58, 
63, 65-66, 68, 75 
‘Abdu-l-‘AzIz, Shah, 45 
‘Abdu-l-IJakim, Khalifah, 63 
Abdulhamid II, Ottoman Sultan, 83, 187 
‘Abdu-l-Latif, Sayyid, s8on 
‘Abdu-r-Rahman, Mawlana,- 440, 4gn 
‘Abidin Palace, Cairo, gg 
Abraham, 12 
Abu-l-Su'ud, gyn 

Academy of Islamic Studies, Hyderabad, 
gn, aSon 

Achaemenian, i6g 
Achch, 38 
Acre, 100 
Adam, ii, la 

Adams, C. C., g6n, 640, aggn 
Adnan-Adivar, Abdulhak, 6on 
Adoratsky, V., 2140 

Afghani. Jamaiu-d-DTn, 47-51, 53, 54 , 56, 
75, San, 83 

Afghanistan. 84. agan 
Africa, 39. 83; Negro Africa, 35, 263, 292, 
agg, 294; North Africa, see Maghrib 
Agra, 38 

Agus Salim, Hajji, 58 


Ahmad, Husayn, 282 
Ahmad Khan, Mu‘inu-d-Din, 440 
Ahmad Khan, Sir Sayyid, g8, 6g, 68, 236 
Ahmadiyah movement (Qadiyani), iggn, 
230-31, agOn, agon; for anti-Ahmadi 
movement, see also Panjab Riots 
Ajodhya mosque, Fayzabad, aSon 
‘Aka, 100 

Akbarabadi, Sa'Id Ahmad, 640 
Akram, Muhammad, agan 
Albania, 168, 292 
Alexandria, 95 

‘All, ‘Abdullah Yusuf, 460, 64, 236 
‘All, Amir, 54, 58, 61-62, 63, 86, 236 
‘All, Karamat, 46n 
‘All, Liyaqat, 2i5n, 227, 2700 
‘All, Muhammad, Indian Khilafat leader, 
63n 

‘All, Muhammad, khedive of Egypt, ggn, 
168 

‘Ali ibn ‘Is 5 , i66n 

‘All Khan, LiySqat, see ‘Ali, Liyaqat 

‘Ali Khan, Zafar, 2620 

Aligarh, 2240, 26a; Aligarli movement, 

58 

Allen, H. E., 1750 
Amanullah KhSn, 201 
Ambedkar, B. R., 78n 
America, 22, 70, yyn, 82, 95. 103. io8, 110, 
111, iign, i4in, 19.}, 265, 304 
Amin, Ahmad, 64, 165 
Amin, ‘Uthman, gSn 
Amir ‘Ali, see ‘Ali, Amir 
Anatolia, 172; cf. Asia Minor, 35 
Anderson, J. N, D., 2940 
Anglican, 19, 193 

Anis, Brigadier, 2710, 276, 279, 282 
Anjuman-i Khuddamu-d-Din, Lahore, 
2g6n 

Ankara, 185, i86n, 194. 2oi 
AnsSri, Shawkatullah, 780 
apologetics, gg, fign, 6g, 73, 85-89, 107, 
114, 115-56. i68, 225 
‘Aqqad, ‘AbbSs Mahmud al-, 62 
Aquinas, St. Thomas, 3030 
Arab League, 770 
‘Arab! pasha, 49, 95 
Arabia, ig, 29, 41-44. 246 
Arabic alphabet. 173 
Arabic language, 15, 20, 26n, 28, 470, 
62n, 93, 94, 1270, i66n, 173, 178, 183, 
i88, 2330, 263, 302n 
Arabs, 15; classical and mediaeval Arabs, 
Arab period, 32, 34, 57, 94. 117-21, 



INDEX 


16511, 166, 167, 168, 169, 303; see also 
‘AbbasI, etc.; modern Arabs, Arab 
world, 50, 48, 50, 51, 540, 56, 58, 59-60, 
62, G6n, 71, 72, 74, 770, 79, 80, 82, 84, 
88, 90, 93-160, 165, 166, 169, 170, 171, 
176, 177, 194, 195, 198, 201, 234, 261, 
262, 263, 287, 289, 295: see also Cairo, 
Damascus, etc. 

Argentina, 273n 
Aristotle, laSn, 178, 179, 3030 
Arnold, Matthew, lyon 
Arslan, al-Amir Shakib. 54, 640, non 
Asad, Muhammad, 5n 
Ash'arl, Abu-l-^asan ‘All al-, i6n, ia8n, 
203. 306; the Ash'ari School, 2on 
Asia Minor, 35; cf. Anatolia, 172 
Aswan Dam project, iign 
Ataturk, Kemal, 173, 187 
atheism, 1740, 183; see also nihilism 
Augustine o£ Hippo, St., 34 
Azad, Ahu- 1 -Kal 5 m, 58, 64, 75, 2640 
Azhar, al-, Cairo, 122, 123, i24n, 125, 
i26n, 127, 129, iS’ii- i 35 "> i 37 > i 4 ti 
154, 157, 160, 194: Azhar Journal, see 
Majallat al-Aihar 

Babur, Mughul emperor, 167 
badii, 33n; cf. bedouin, 98 
Baghdad, 32, 34, 95, 165, 166 
Baha’i movement, 1350, 153 
Bahar, Maliku-s-Shu'ara’, 52n 
Bahi, Mujiammad al-, 56n 
Bakri, Tawfiq Ahmad al-, 520 
Baljon, J. M. S., Jr., 68n 
Balkans, southeast Europe, 35, 167 
Banu Sa’idah, 330 
barakah concept, 1611 
BarelawT, Sayyid Ahmad, 46 
Bat, ‘Abdullah, 460, 470 
bedouin, 98; cf. badu, 33n 
Benda, Harry J., 52n 
Bengal, 45, 46, 222, 232, 272n; East Ben- 
gal, 259, 269; see also East Pakistan; 
West Bengal, 257 
Bengali language, 263 
Bergson, Henri, Son 
Berkes, Niyazi, 360, 560, 6on, 2040 
Besant, Annie, 1400 

Bible, 30, log, 303; see also Old Testa- 
ment, New Testament 
hid' ah concept, 20, 1250, i26n 
Bihar, 460 

Binder, Leonard, 360 
Birgivi, Mehmet, 420 
Bowman, Isaiah, igSn 
British rule, British imperialism, 38, 45, 


49, 74, 95, loin, 110, 111, 112, iign, 
i59n, 2iin, 282, 293n 
Brockelmann, Carl, ii8n 
Brown, W. Norman, 780, 2570 
Browne, E. G., 52n 
Buchner, Ludwig, 1430 
Buddhism, Buddhists, 770, 217 
Burckhardt, Jakob Christoph, 1700 
Burma, 286n 
Butt, see Bat 

Butterfield, Herbert, 270, izgn 
Byron, George Gordon, Lord, 62 
Byzantine empire, 167 

Cahun, Ldon, 200 

Cairo, 32, 64, 830, 88, 95, 100, non, 114, 
122, 146, 149, 1550, 158, 16a, i8o, 203 
Cairo University, 165 
Caliph, Caliphate, see Khallfah 
Callard, Keith A., aim 
Calvin, John, 3060 
Cambay, 238 
Canada, 292 
Carlyle, Thomas, logn 
Caskel, Werner, igfin 
caste, caste system, 2320, 265, 267, 288 
Qelebi, Siileyman, ig8n 
Central Asia, 28, 35, 39 
Chelebi, see Qelebi 
Chiang Kai-shek, 1400 
China, 73, 8in, 105, 147, 263, 265, 29a, 

ags. 294. sot 

Christ, see Jesus Christ 
Christian, Christians, la, 13-14, 15, i6n, 
17, i7n-i8n, ig, ao, 21-22, 26, 28, 29, 
30, 31- 37. 39. 43. 54 n. 57 - 71. 79. 8in, 
86, 93n, 94, loo, loin, loan, 104, 106, 
107, logn. 111, lain, lagn, 1380, 150, 
159, i66n, 171, 177, 180, 190, 193, 194, 
198, 203-04, aim, 213, 217, 232n, 2440, 
251, 2530, 265, 268n, 2730, 286n, 293, 
303, 305. See also Protestant, Roman 
Catholic, Copts, etc. Christian Church, 
i8n, 19, 30, lagn, 1590, aim, 2530, 
305; see also Church and state 
Christian-Muslim Conference, Bhamdun 
1954, io6n 

Church, Christian, see under Christian 
Church and state relationship, 176, 196, 
2iin, 253n 

Coca-cola-nisation, 97 
Communism, Communists, Communist 
Party, ig, agn, 70, 7a, 8in, 86, 105, 
1380, 157, 160, 182-83, 188, 214, 217, 
236, 265, 294, 299; see also Marxism; 
for Communist Russia, see under Rus- 
sia 


5/0 


INDEX 


Communist Manifesto, 25011 
Constantinople, 38, 105. See also Istanbul 
Constituent Assembly of India, 28511 
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, 2150, 
si6n, 2420, 247 

Constitution of India (1950), 266, 285 
Constitution of Pakistan (1956), 830, 
215-16, 2370, 23911, 2450, 247, 248, 249, 
250 

Constitution of Turkey (1927 revision), 

173 

Constitutionalist movement, Iran, 52 
Copts, 265 
Cordoba, 29, 54 
Coupland, Sir Reginald, 780 
Cragg, Kenneth, 640, 66n, io4n 
Crusades, 57, loin, 106, 167 
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, Republican 
People’s Party, Turkey, 185, iSyn, 196 
Czechoslovakia, 105 

Dacca, 273 

Dakhlan, Kiyai Hajji Ahmad, 75 

Damascus, 28, 95, 99, non, 114 

dar al-Islam concept, gon 

Darul Islam movement, Indonesia, 51, 90 

Daru-l-‘Ulum, Deoband, see Deoband 

Darwin, Charles, logn 

Davis, Kingsley, 257n, 267n 

De Civitate Dei, 54 

Delhi, 284 

democracy, 72, 100, 135, 144, 186, 188, 
202, 213, 216, 237, 247-51, 252, 265, 2G6, 
267, 278, 283, 288-89: see also parlia- 
mentary institutions 
Demokrat Parti, Turkey, iSyn 
Deoband, 75, 262 
Desai, C. C., 25on 
Dewey, John, 24, I28n 
Dijwi, Yusuf al-, 130, 1540 
Drewes, G. W. J., 52n 
Durban, 88 

Duri, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-, i2on 
Durkheim, Emil, yn, 8n, 8on 
Dutch imperialism, 38, 74, 112 
dynamism, 51, 55, 63n, O9, 73, 89-91, 158- 
60, lyin 

East Pakistan, 206-07, 231-33, 25on, 269; 

see also East Bengal under Bengal 
Ebiissu’M, 37n 
Edmonton, 292 

Egypt, Egyptians, 49, 75, 76, 79, 830, 95, 
105, 110, 120, 1590, 167, 214, 215, 2450, 
261, 265, 273n; see also Cairo, Arab 
world, etc. 

Elder, E. E., ign 


Eliot, George, logn 
Elwell-Sutton, L. P., 52n 
English language, 68, 136, 14O, 148, 149, 
lyon, 222, 233n, 253n, 286, 2930 
Enlightenment, 18th-century Europe, 105 
Ethiopia, 194 
Euphrates, 28 
Evans-Pritchard, E. E., S2n 

Faculty of Divinity, McGill University, 
i86n 

Faculty of Theology, Ankara University, 
185, 186, 194, 200, 202 
Falsafah, classical Islamic philosophy, 55, 
5611, 67, 303 

Farabi, Abu Najr al-, 168 
Fara’iziyah movement, Bengal, 46 
Faris, Nabih Amin, i2on 
Farrukh, 'Umar, 50, 56n, loon, i2on 
fascism, 192, 197, 213, 266; see also Nazi 
fatwa, 176; cf. mufti, 21 
Fayzabad, aSon 
Fayzi, Asaf ‘Aii Asghar, 50 
Fazlu-r-Rahman, 410, 570, 6Gn, 8Gn, 
8gn, 3o6n 
fetva, see fatwa 
Fikret, Tevfik, 58 
Firdawsi, AbQ-l-Qasim, 73 
Flournoy, T., 1430 

France, French people, 97, 138, 204; see 
also Paris 

Franklin, Benjamin, i86n 

French imperialism, 39, 74, 95, gG, 112, 

29311 

French language, Oa, 136, 140, lyon, agsn 
Frye, Richard N., 1840, agsn 
Fyzee, see Fayzi 

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, 268n, 
ayan 

Geley, Gustave, 143-4 
Geneva, 298 

German language, 136, lyon 
Germany, Germans, layn, 204 
Ghani, 'Ata’u-r-Rahman, 510, 21 in 
Ghaznavi, 1G7 

Ghazzali, Abu Ijamid al-, 340, 360, ii6n, 

203, 303n 

Ghurbal, Muhammad Shafiq, 950, laon 
Gibb, Sir Hamilton A. R., aGn, 4 in, 59, 
6on, 64n, gSn, 120, 121, 122, 1240, 1510, 
15a, 15611, igo, 1950, 201 
Gibbon, Edward, 61 

G6kalp, Ziya, 56, 109, igg, 204, 2530, 
302 n 

‘golden age’ interpretation of Islamic 


INDEX 


history, 117-ai, 164, 169, a44n-246n, 
245-46; cf. 35-36 
Goldziher, Ignai, 511 
Grand National Assembly, Turkey, igy 
Greece, classical, the Greek tradition, 
etc., ion, 17, 20, 30, 33n, 39, 57, 109, 
117, ii8n, 170, iSan, 230, 244n, 248n, 
30211, 303; Greeks, modern, 74, 79n 
Greek language, 248n, goan 
Green, John Richard, 10911 
Gunes-Dil teorisi, aoo 
Gurdaspur, 2570 
Guyau, Jean-Marie, 138 

hadith, 5n, lag, 1300, 148; see also 
sunnah 

Ifdhiin al-mullaq, al-, concept, 2390 
Hall, Altai IJusayn, 54, 166 
Hamid, Abdulhak, 58 
Hanball, 42, 56n 
Harrison, Joseph G., i5in 
Hasan, IJasan Ibrahim, 16411, 165 
IJasan, Sa'd Muhammad, san 
IJaydarabad, see Hyderabad 
Hayclari, Amir 'Abbas, 58n 
Haykal, Muhammad Husayn, 62 
Hazard, Harry W., 930, agan, 29311 
Heaven, 26, 254: see also Paradise 
Hell, 26, 8m 
Hellenism, see Greece 
Heracleitos, 4 

Heyd, Uriel, 56n, 20011, 2040 
Heyworth-Dunne, James, 1580 
IJifzu-r-Rahman, Mawlana, 28511 
Himalayas, 28 
Hindi language, 286 

Hindu religion, Hindus, 21, 24, 770, 78, 
Sin, 2iin, 232-33, 2440, 25on, 256-gi; 
Hindu Raj, 2G8n; see also Indian 
civilization 

historiography, 115, 117-21, iG6n, 168 

Hitti, Philip K., 940, 1650 

Hodgson, Marshall G. S., gin 

Holland, see Dutch 

Hollywood, lion 

Holt, P. M., 52n 

Homer, goan 

PTorney, Karen, iign, ii6n 
Hughes, Everett, 811 

humanism, 55, 67, 68, loo, log, 232, 266, 
267, 26811, 281, 302-04 
Ilunayn ibn Ishaq, i6Gn 
Hunter, Guy, gyn 
IJusarl, Sati' al-, 770 
Husayn, Muhammad al-Kliidr, 122-37, 
145. I47- 148. i5on, 16b 152-3. i54 
Ilusayn, Muhammad Hidayat, 460 


Husayn, Sayyid ‘Abid, 285, 286 
Husayn, Taha, 58, 62, 65, isSn 
Husayn, Zakir, 2690, ayon 
Jlusaynl, Ishaq Musi al-, 15611 
Huxley, Thomas Henry, logn, 111 
Hyderabad, 53, go, 277, 278, 279, 281; 

see also Nizam 
hypnotism, 142, 144 

Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, Muhammad, 42, 
44n, 56; see also Wahhabi 
Ibn al-‘ArabI, Muhyi al-DIn, 340 
Ibn IJanbal, see hlanball 
Ibn Sina, Abu ‘All al-Husayn, 3030 
Ibn Su'ud, Muhammad, 42 
ijtihdd concept, 450, i28n 
Ikhwan al-Muslimun, al-, 51, 90, 114, 
156-60, 234 

imamah, ai; see also khalifah 
Inalcik, Halil, i68n 
In'amullah Khap, Sgn 
‘Inan, Muhammad ‘Abd Allah, loin 
India, Indian civilization, 29, 105, 198, 
301; see also Hindu religion; Indian 
nationalism, 50, 76, 78, 264, 275, 283, 
284; Muslims in India (to Partition, 
1947), 28, 34n, 35, 38, 44-47, 48, 50, 51, 

53, 58, 64, 65, 67, 74, 75, 76, 78, 83, 
85-86, i2on, 166, 167, 170, 201, 223-24, 
234; alter Partition, see also Pakistan; 
India since 1947, 511, 72-73, 76, 222, 
227, 231, 232, 23411, 2530, 256-91, 295 

Indian National Congress, 7811, 268n, 
2700, 281, 283 
Indian Ocean, 293 

Indonesia, 35, 38, 51, 52, 54, 550, 58, 60, 
73. 74. 75. 76. 78-79. 80, 81-82, 90, 169, 
194, 214, 215, 248, 261, 262, 292, 293, 

294-95. 301, 30411 

Industrial Revolution, 4 
intellectuals, intellcctualism, 17, 20, 50, 
55. 58. 57. 86, 69, 85, 87, 89, 112, 12111, 
170-71, 229-30; see also Greek tradition 
and rationalism 

International Assembly of Muslim 
Youth, Karachi, 8311 
International Islamic Economic Confer- 
ence, Karachi, 83n 
Iqbal, ‘Abbas, 64 

Iqbal, Shaykh Sir Muhammad, 50, 51, 

54, 56, 630, 75n, 82n, 89, 170, 1950, 
203, 2iin, 229, 236, 24511, 254, 282 

Iqbal, Shaykh Muhammad, pseudonym, 
2340 

iradah (of God) i6n 
Iran: for pre-Islamic Iran, see Achae- 
menian, Sasanl; for medieval Iran, see 


^12 



INDEX 


also Safavi; modern Iran, 34, 39, 48, 
49. 50. 51. 62. 58. 60. 73, 74, 76. 79. 80, 
82, go, 166, 167, 169, 194, 201, 261, 262. 
292. 294-95 
‘Isawl order, 1420 
'isawl, Charles, 940 
Isfahan, 38, gSn 
Ishraqiyah school, 560 
Islamic Congress, Cairo, 830 
Islamic Culture, Hyderabad, 277 
Islamic State, Islamic Republic, 79, San, 
206-55 

Islamic Union, China, 147 
Isma'il Shahid, Shah, 45, 460 
Israel, gg; see also Palestine and Zionism 
Istanbul, 38, 202 

Jaeschke, Gotthard, lyqn 
Jakarta, 88, 162 
Jalalu-d-Din, see Rumi 
Jama'at al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib al- 
Islamiyah, Cairo, 50 
Jama'at-i IslamT, India and Pakistan, 90, 
159. 233-36. 28in, 284 
Jamalu-d-Din Afghani, see Afghani 
Jamia Millia Islamia (jami'ah Milliyah 
Islamiyah), New Delhi, 26a, 26511 
Jam'iyat, al-, Delhi, 284 
Jam'iyatu-l-‘Ulama’, 284-85, 286 
jannah, see Paradise 
Japan, 69, 136, 204n 
Java, 73, 295n, 304n 
Jaziri, 'Abd al-Raliman al-, igon 
Jerusalem, 28 

Jesus Christ, 12, 13, 17, loqn, io6n, 198, 
244n 

Jews, Judaism, 12-13, 14. 23, 26n, 7711, 
79, 8in, ggn, 98. 100, 107, aoqn, 248n, 
265, 2730, 285, 286n; see also Bible, 
Old Testament, Palestine, Zionism 
Jibali, Ibrahim al-, igon 
Jinnah, Muhammad 'All, Son, 213, 227, 
27in-272n 

John, St, Gospel of, 170, i8n 

Josephus, Flavius, 2480 

Josh MalihabadI, 2710, 276. 279, 282 

Kabir, Humayuii, 285 
kalimah, ign 

Kamal, Mustafa, 173; see also Atatiirk 

Karachi, 830, 162 

Kashani, Mulla Ayatullah, 51, 90 

Kashmir, 254, 257, 269-70 

Kasravi, Ahmad, 520 

Keats, John, 62 

Kemal, Mustafa, see Ataturk 


Kemal, Namik, 47, 58 
Khaksar movement, India, 51 
Khalidi, Mustafii, loon 
khalifah, khilafah, 21, 36, 46, 173, 195, 
296 

Khaliqu-z-Zaman, Chawdhri, 770, 82n, 

279 

Khariji, KhawSrij, aon, 28n 
Khatm-i Nubilwat riots, Lahore (1953), 
go; see also Panjab riots 
KhawSrij, see Khariji 
khilafah, see khalifah 
khilafah al-rashidah, al-, 245-46, 24811, 

254 

Khilafat movement, India, 53, 83, 209, 
278 

Khuda Bakhsh, Salfihu-d-Din, 64 
kliulafa’ al-rashidfin, al-, 246; see also 
khilafah al-r5shidah 
Kiernan, Victor G., 540 
‘Kingdom of God on Earth’, 17, 22, 39, 
181 

Kirk, George, 970, 1580 
Kirkwood, Kenneth P., 1730, iggn 
K6prU16, M. Fuad, sn 
Kremlin, 2311, 183; see also Union of 
Soviet Socialist Republics 
Kurds, iggn 

Lahore, 88, 206, 273; Lahore Resolution, 
Muslim League (1940), 2ion 
Lambert, Richard D., 2330 
Lambton, Ann K. S., 360, 2950 
Laoust, Henri, Sqn 
Latin alphabet, 173 
Latin language, 3020 
Law, see under Shari'ah 
Le Bon, Gustave, 142-43 
Lebanon, g3n, 28Gn 
Lenin, 214 

Lewis, Bernard, iG8n, 1840 
Li-niadhn ta'akhkhar al-muslimunf 54 
liberalism, 55-73, 85-87, 90, 99-100, 178. 
181, 18G, 189, 193-94. 198, 208, 213, 
236, 266, 284, 290, 302-04 
Liberation Rally, Egypt, 1570 
Libya, 52 

LitvS, al-, Cairo. 79 
Liyaqat 'Ali, see under ‘All 
Liyaqat-Nehru Pact (1950), 2700 
Logos doctrine, i8n 
London, 49, 141 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 62 
Lucknow, 277 

Lundberg, George Andrew, 8n 
Luther, Martin, logn, 203, 205 


3^3 


INDEX 


MacCallum, F. Lyman, igSn-iggn 
MadanI, ^usayn Ahmad, 282 
Madinah, al-, 16, 43, 284, 286n 
Maghrib, al-, 28, gg, 74, g6 
Mahdi movement, Sudan (i88iff), 52 
MahmasanI, Subhi, sn, gdn 
Majallat al-Azhar, Azliar Journal, togn, 
ii8n, 122-56 

Makkah, 16, 43, 44n, 185 
Malayalam language, 54n 
Malik, Charles, 1040 
Malikzadah, Mahdi, 52n 
Mamluk dynasty, 167 
mana, i6n 

Manar movement, 68 

Mansur, 'All, 13 in 

Man?ur, Jlasan, i3on 

Maraghi, al-Shaykh Mu?tafii al-, 131 

mardi (of God), i6n 

Mardin, Ebul’uia, sn 

Maron, Stanley, 2070 

martyr, 30 

Marx, Karl, 105: Marxist, 21, 23-26, 2140, 
250, 304; see also Communist 
mashi'ah (of God), i6n 
Mashumi party, Indonesia, 79 
Masjid-i Qurfubah, 54 
Masnavt, 34 
Massignon, Louis, agan 
materialism, 137-40. 14a, 144, 146, 191, 
2i4n 

MawdOdi, Sayyid Abu-l-‘Aia’, 750, 233- 
36, 254, 281 n, 284 
mawlCid, 198, 202 
maya, 21 

McGill University, Montreal, i86n 

Mecca, see Makkah 

Mediterranean, 117, 293 

Mehmet Fatih, Ottoman sultan, 38 

mevlid, see matvlud 

Michelet, Jules, i7on 

Middle East Supply Centre, Cairo, gyn 

Mihr, Ghulam Rasul, 460 

Miller, W. M., 2950 

Milton, John, 62 

minorities (Muslim and non-Muslim), 
80, 232-33, 250-51. 256-91 
Mitchell, Richard, 12 in, 1560 
Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, 
Aligarh, 68; see also Aligarh 
Mohammedan Educational Conference, 
India, 68n 

Mongols, 32, 34, 57, 166, 167 
Monteil, Vincent, 2930 
moral law, see under Shari'ah 
Morgenstierne, G., 2920 
Morley, John, logn 


Morocco, 38 
Moses, 12, 248n 

mu'Shadah concept, 284-85, 286n 
mufti, 21; cf. fatwa, 176 
Mughul, 44, 45, 166, 167, 2620 
Muhammad the Prophet, 15, 16, 17, lyn- 
i8n, ign, 320-330, 54, 62, Son, 83, 105, 
136, 141, 146, 177, 245n, 246, 284 
Muhammad ‘All, see under ‘All 
Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, 
Education Conference, India, see un- 
der "Mohammedan” (their official 
19th-century spelling) 

Muhammadiyali movement, Indonesia, 

52 

Mujahid, Sharif al-, 470 
Multan, 29 

Munir, Muhammad, 23on 
Munir Report, Lahore (1953), 2150, 230, 
233. ssyii- 2430 

Mu'nis, Husayn, 520, i2on 
muru’ah concept, 93 
Musaddas-i liall, 54, 166 
muslim (definition of term), 15; cf. 183 
Muslim Brotherhood, Muslim Brethren, 
see Ikhwan al-Muslimun 
Muslim-Christian Conference, Bhamdun 
(1954), io6n 

Muslim League, India, Son, 209, 213, 256, 
264, 2700, 275, 282, 285 
Muslim League, Pakistan, 82n, 207, 222 
Muslim University, Aligarh, 2240, 262; 
see also Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental 
College, 68 

Mu’tamar-i 'Alam-i Islami, Karachi, 830 
Mu'tazilah, ion, i8n, 2on, Sgn, 111 
Miiteferrika, IbrAhim, 47 
Mutiny, India (1857), 46, 209 
mysticism, mystics, see Sufi 

Nadir, Albert Na§ri, i8n 
Nadir Shah, 560 

Nadwatu-l-'Ulama', Lucknow, 277 
Naguib, see Najib 

nahdah concept, 170; see also Renascence 
Nahdatul Ulama party, Indonesia, 79 
Najib, Muhammad, 100, 1570 
Naqshbandiyah, 45n, iggn 
Nasafi, Abu Haf? ‘Umar al-, ign 
Nashshabah, Hisham 'Abd al-Wahhab, 
42n, 47n, 520 
nasikh and mansukh, i2n 
Na§ir al-Din al-Tusi, i66n 
Na5iru-d-Din, Shah of Iran, 49 
Nasser, Gamal, see 'Abd al-Najir, Jamal 
National Congress, India, see Indian Na- 
tional Congress 


314 



INDEX 


National Socialists, Germany, see Nazis 
nationalism, 48, 55, Ggn, Byn, 68, 69, 73- 
85. 90. 91- 94. 95. 113. 146, 168, 191-ga, 
193, aoo, gis, 264, 271, 275, 283, 284 
Nationalist Party, Indonesia, see Partai 
Nasional Indonesia 
Nazirau-d-Din, Khwajah, 243n 
Nazis, 181; see also Fascism 
Negroes, in America, 265; see also Africa, 
Negro 

Nehru, Jatvaharlal, 78n, 23311, 2360, ayon 
Netherlands, see Dutch 
New Testament, lagn; see also Bible 
and John, St., Gospel of 
Niebuhr, Reinhold, 22 
nihilism, 182-83; c{. 108-09 
Nile, 28 

Nizam of Hyderabad, 262, 278 
Nizami, Khaliq Ahmad, 45n 
North Africa, see Maghrib 
Nu'man, Muhammad, 780 
Nu'mani, Shibli, see Shlbli 
Nuqrashi, Mahmud Fahmi al-, i58n 
Nur al-lslam, see Majallat al-Azhar 
Nyberg, H. S., 8301 

Objectives Resolution, Karachi (1949), 
215. 2i6n, 23on, 2370, 2390 
Old Testament, 26n; see also Bible 
orientalism, Western Islamics scholar- 
ship, 70, 71-72, 140, 166 
"orthodox” (as concept), 20 
Ottoman, 35, 37n, 39, 42, 83, 84, 1650, 
166, 167, 187, 188 
Oxford University, 202, 245n 

Paine, Tom, 108 

Pakistan, 530, 72, 76, 770, 80, 81, 82, 
84, 90, 159, i6g, 170, 194, 206-55, 25G- 
91, 292, 293, 295, 298, 301, 304 
Palestine, 30, 99, 100, 109, 111; see also 
Zionism; for Palestinian tradition in 
Western culture, see also Semitic 
tradition and Bible 
Paley, William, i54n 
pan-Islam, 48, 80-84, 194 > 282, 2g6n 
Panjab, 46, 2720; East Panjab, 257; 
Panjab riots, Lahore riots (1953), 206, 
230-31, 233. 236, 237, 243n, 301 
Paradise, lyn, 26 
Paris, 49, 65, 99 
Park, Richard L., aoyn 
parliament, parliamentary institutions, 
100, 249; see also democracy 
Partai Nasional Indonesia, 79 


Partition of India (1947), 218, 227, 2360, 
251, 256-91 
Patel, Sardar, 268n 
Paul, St., lyn 
Peking, 298 
Perlmann, Moshe, 6411 
Persia, see Iran; Persian empires, see 
Achaemenian, SSsani, Safavi 
Persian language, i66n, 3020 
Peshawar, 46 
Philippines, 292 
Philo Judaeus, 2480 
philosophy, Islamic, see falsafah; Greek 
philosophy, see Greece; see also in- 
tellecualism, rationalism 
Pickens, Claude L., Jr., 2930 
Pipes, Richard E., 2930 
Plato, platonism, 43, i28n, 153 
Poincard, Henri, i42n 
Praxiteles, 304 

Protestant, 20, 171, 194, 2530; see also 
Reformation 
Punjab, see Panjab 
Puritans, 310, logn 
Pyrenees, 28 

QadlyanI movement, see Alimadlyah 
qawm concept, 2i4n; see also two-nation 
theory 

Qidwa'i, Rafi' A^imad, 264 
Qumm, 560 

Qur’an, 11, 15, 16, 17, i8n, ign, 27, 43, 
44, 94, 10611, i3on, 144, 148, 176, 177, 
178, 2150, 244n, 24511, 254, 290, 3o6n; 
quoted, 50, 54, ii6n; Qur’an exegesis 
and commentary, Tafsir, 08 , 129, 131, 
134 ", 135 " 

Qurayshi, Ishtiyaq IJusayn, ayin 
Qutb Muhammad, loin, io8n, 1590 
Qutb, Sayyid, 1570 

Radek, Karl Bernardovich, 191 
Rahbar, Muhammad Da’ud, 450, 68n 
Rahman, F., see Fazlu-r-Rahman 
Rampur, 284 

Rashid, Husayn ‘Ali, 580, 64 
rationalism, reason, ,56-57, 58, 65, 67, 
68, 70, 71, 86, 107, 109, 178, iBan. 229, 
307; see also Greek tradition and in- 
tellectualism 
Red Cross, 100 
Reed, Howard A., 1840 
Reformation, 161, 170-71, 190, 202, 203, 
205, 2460, 2530 

Renascence, 148, 164, 1650, 170-71, 246n 
Republican Party, Turkey, see Cum- 
huriyet Halk Partisi 


5^5 


INDEX 


Rida, Muhammad Rashid, 560, 64 
rida, ridwan (of God), i6n 
Rizakar movement, Hyderabad, 90, ayg 
Roman Catholic, 19 

Rome, Roman Empire, a8, 29, 30, 34, 
log. 109, goan 
Rondot, Pierre, Son 
Rosenthal, Franz, a6n 
Ross, W. D., aon 
Rumi, Jalalu-d-Din, 34 
Russia, Czarist, 6g, 74: communist 

Russia, U.S.S.R., 38, 74, 82. 18a, 187, 
189, 191, 214, 217, ago-gi, 263, 282, 
288, aga, 293, 294; see also Commu- 
nism 

ru’ya (of God), lyn 

Safavl, 35, 73; see also Iran 
Saharanpur, aSin 
Sa'id, Khalid bin, 2340 
Said, §eyh, 19911 
Sa'id Ahmad, see Akbarabadi 
Sakit, 'Taha al-, igon 
Salafiyah movement, Egypt, 68 
Salim, Hajji Agus, 58 
Saljuq, see Selcuk 

Samman, Muhammad ‘Abd Allah al-, 
lion 

samsara, 21 
Sangulaji, Shari'at, 58 
Sanskrit, i43n 

Sanusi movement, Libya, 5a 
Sarekat Islam movement, Indonesia, 5a 
Sarwar, Muhammad, 450, 640 
Sasani, pre-Islamic Persian empire, 28, 

29 

Satan, ii6n 

Sayyid Ahmad Barelawi, see Barelawi 
Sayyid Ahmad Khan, see under Aljmad 
Sayyidayn, Khwajah Ghulam, 63n 
Scliacht, Joseph, 370, 560 
schizophrenia, 143 
Schlieffcr, Hedwig, gan 
science, 4, 50, 85, 107, 111, iig-20, lain, 
13G-37, 138, 139, 142-44. 146. 165. 17411. 
178, 179, i8g, 200, 219-20, 223, 248, 

303 

Scott, Sir Walter, Ga 

secularism, secular, laicism, etc., 13, 36, 
71, 72, 76, go, 107-og, 126, 146, 172-83, 
191, igG, 208, 2iin, 213, 252-53, 265, 
266, 271, 280, 281, 284, 288, 289, 301-03 
Selcuk, 167 

Semitic tradition, 17, 29, 8 in, 2480, 3030; 

see also Palestine, Bible, etc. 
separate^ electorates, Pakistan, 2480 
§cyh-ul-isliim, 370 


Shah of Iran, Na§ru-d-Din, 49; cf. Nadir 
Shah, gGn 

shahid concept, 30; Shahid, Shah Isma'il, 

45. 460 

Shakespeare, William, 61 
Sharbaji, al-, igin 

shari'ah, law, moral law, etc., gn, 9, 10- 
21. 29, 36, 37, 42, 43, 56. 90, 127, 128, 
lagn, igon, 141, 153, 155, 168, 171, 
173. 176', i8on, 194, 195-98, 235, 244- 
45n, 2480, 250, 287, 290, 3030 
Shaykh al-Islam, 370 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 62 
Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, 114 
Shibli Nu ‘mani, gn, 58, 65 
Shi'i, gn, 20, 28n, 330, 42, 48, 49. 79 
ShikuJah, 54 
Shinasi, see §inasi 
Short History of the Saracens, 54 
Shubaykah, Makki, gan 
Shukri, Muhammad Fu’ad, g2n 
Siddiqi, Mazharu-d-Din, 640, 7511 
Sikhs, 45, 46, 78, 2570, 268 
§inasi, IbrAhim, g8 
Sindh, 22on 

Sindhi, 'Ubaydullah, 63, 640 
socialism, igg 

Society for Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals, London, 149 
Socrates, 124 

Soviet Union, see under Russia 
Spain, 28, 32, 269 
Stephen, Leslie, logn 
Sudan, 52, 2g3n 

Suez Canal, Suez Canal Zone, 110, iign, 

15911 

Sufi, ta?awwuf, mystics, etc., 9, 170, 31, 
34. 37. 38. 45. 48, 55. 56. 57. 630, 126, 
168, 173, 197-200, 213, 236, 2G1 
Stileymaiiiye mosque, Istanbul, 20a; cf. 
168 

sultan concept, 36 

Sultan Ahmet mosque, Istanbul, 202; cf. 
1G8 

sun language theory, 200 
sunni, ahl al-sunnah wa al-jama‘ah, gn, 
i8n. 20, 28n, 37, 43, 44, 45, 48, lagn, 
129, i3on, 1340, 1350, 168, 199, 2i5n, 
2450, 254 

Swiss law code, 197 
Symonds, John Addington, lyon 
Symonds, Richard, ySn 
Syria, 74, 76, 95, 105; see also Damascus, 
Arab world 

Tabi'i, Muliammad al-, loin 
Tabriz!, Ahmad Kasravi, gan 



INDEX 


tafsir, see under Qur’Sn 
Tahzlbu-l-dkhlaq, 68n 
Taj Mahall, 26a 

Talim ve Terbiye Hcyeti. Ankara, aoan 

Taoism, Taoists, aiy 

tag lid concept, 68 

tafawwur concept, 26n-ayn 

Tawflq al-^Iakim, 6a 

Teheran, see Tihran 

tekke, 1^3, i8on, igg 

Thackeray, William Makepeace, 6a 

Theobald, A, B., gan 

theocracy concept, 248 

Thomas, Lewis V., 18411 

Tibawi, A. L., 1840 

Ticanl, go, 188 

Tigris, 28 

Tihran, 64, 88, 201 

Tijaniyah order, see Ticani 

Tipu Sultan, 2620 

Titus, Murray T., ggn 

Tobacco monopoly, Iran, 49 

Toynbee, Arnold J., 172, 17311, iggn, 

301 

Trevelyan, George Macaulay, logn 
Trimingham, J. Spencer, 29311 
Troeltsch, Ernst, 8n 
Tunis, i55n 
turbe, 185 

Turkey, Turks, 34, 35, 47, 48, 49, ssn, 
59. 60, 67, 7a, 74, 76, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 
86- 90. 95 > 102, logn, log, iiG 12011, 
161-205, 214. S15, 248, 252, 253n, 2G1, 
26a, 288, aSg, 295, 299, 301, 30a; see 
also Ottoman 

Turkish language, Gan, 173, 177, 178, 
3oan 

Tiisl, Nasir al-Din al-, i66n 
two-nation theory, 2140, 2560, 258, 271, 
284 

‘ulama’, 21, 36, 122, i24n, 125, 1260, 152, 
153 " I'lG, 177, 187, 233, 2430-2440, 
2450, 248, 284, 285, 3o6n 
Umawl, Banii Umayyah, 165 
ummah concept, i6n 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, see 
under Russia • 

Union Theological Seminary, New York, 

194 

United Nations, 278, 282 
United Provinces, India, 222, a8on, a8i 
United States, see America 
University of Ankara, 185, i86n; see 
also Faculty of Theology, Ankara 


University of London, i6Gn 
University of Pennsylvania, i86n 
Urdu, 4511, 46n, 470, 640, aim, 2150, 
222. 2330, 2530, 262, 263, 266, 268n, 
27c, 286 

‘Urjun, al-, 1280 
U.S.A., see America 
Usmani, Shabblr Ahmad, 2150 
U.S.S.R., see Russia 

Victorian age, 65, logn 
Vienna, 105 
Virgil, 3020 
virgin birth, 13 
Voltaire, 108 

von Griinebaum, Gustave E., 4in 
von Mende, Gerhard, 2930 

Wach, Joachim, 8in 

Wafd party, Egypt, 76 

Wahhabi movement, Arabia, 41-44, 45, 

_ 51. 55. 56. 65- 68 

"Wahhabi” movement, India, 209; cf. 

65: see also Waliyiillah 
Wajdi, Muhammad Farid, loSn, 122-23, 
i27n, i28n, lagn, 1300, 132-56 
Wallyullah, Shah, 44-47, 51; Waliyiillah! 

movement, 45-47, 56, 209 
waqf, 202 

Washington, D.C„ chap. 3, 298 

Watson, William J., 53n 

Weber, Max, 8n 

Wells, H. G., 141 

Wheeler, R. S., 2070 

Wilber, Donald N., 2920 

Wolfson, H. A., 2480 

World Muslim Conference, Karachi, 830 

Mtorms, logn 

Wu, 'Uthman, 147 

Yalfin, Huseyin Cahit, 3020 
Young, G. M., logn 
Young, T. Cuyler, 2950 
Ylicel, Hasan-Ali, 3020 
Yugoslavia, 292 
Yusuf 'Ali, see under 'All 

Zafar ‘All Khan, see under ‘Ali 
zakah, 1540, 155 
Zaydan, Jiirji, 54, gqn 
Zaytunah mosque, Tunis, 1550 
Zayyat, Muhammad Hasan al-, 66n 
Zindagl, 284 

Zionism, 71, 98, gg, 106; see also Israel, 
Palestine 




Central Archaeological Library, 

NEW DELHI. y. 

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Call No. 

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Botrow0r No. Oftte of 1mu« Date of Raturit \ 


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